Is Lionel Messi joining Barcelona?

Tom Gott
Messi's contract is winding down
Messi's contract is winding down / Marco Canoniero/GettyImages

The summer of 2021 was dominated by talk of Lionel Messi's future, and we might be in for a similar ride in 2023.

The Argentine is out of contract with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the current campaign but does have the option to extend his current deal by a further year.

However, should he choose to decline that option, Messi will become a free agent once again and former employers Barcelona are desperate to find a way to bring the Argentine back for another swing at life at Camp Nou.

So, what is Messi going to do? Here's a closer look at the options available to him.

Stay with PSG

PSG have no desire to part ways with Messi, and why would they? The uncomfortable nature of his debut season is gone and the Argentine is back looking like one of the world's top talents.

Now more of a playmaker than a goalscorer, the diminutive wizard hit double figures for both goals and assists early in the campaign and continues to exceed expectations like the Messi of years gone by.

Messi can end the speculation about his future by triggering that one-year extension clause in his current contract, while reports have also suggested he will be given the chance to sign a brand new deal in the near future.

Return to Barcelona

If Messi walks away from PSG at the end of the season, he will have no shortage of suitors but right at the front of the queue will be Barcelona.

The Blaugrana never wanted to lose Messi in the first place but were forced to cut him loose to save on salary, and they've been working tirelessly to put their finances in order ever since.

With Gerard Pique retiring and the likes of Sergio Busquets, Memphis Depay, Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso all out of contract in 2023, Barcelona are set to shift a significant salary weight from their shoulders.

Affording Messi may no longer be an issue but convincing the 35-year-old that returning to Camp Nou would be best for his career could be a little more challenging.

Join Inter Miami

Also chasing Messi's signature are Major League Soccer's Inter Miami, who were recently reported to be 'confident' of recruiting Messi in 2023.

Messi has previously expressed an interest in taking his talents to MLS and Inter Miami have never shied away from aiming for the heavens. They want Messi but need to convince him that his time in Europe is over.

That won't be a simple task, but MLS boasts more appeal than ever these days and will undoubtedly have piqued Messi's interest.