BARCELONA’S board will demand clubs pay Lionel Messi’s £631million release clause should he hand in a transfer request, according to reports.
The Argentine’s future remains in serious doubt after a torrid season on and off the pitch for the Nou Camp side.
But with one year left to run on his contract and Barcelona determined to keep their star man, it may not be easy for Messi to get out even if he wants to.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the Barca board will simply turn around and tell Messi, 33, a club would need to match his mammoth release clause to sign him – otherwise he is not for sale.
And that is pretty much impossible with no club likely to stump up more than three times the world-record transfer fee Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar in 2017.
However, if a deal could be reached between the player and the club that would see Barca accept an affordable price, PSG could be in line to make a move and reunite Messi with Neymar.
Manchester City – with Pep Guardiola in charge – and Inter Milan are also thought to be monitoring the situation, with the Italians weighing up an approach.
Immediately after the Blaugrana lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Messi is claimed to have told the club he wanted to leave.