Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is expected to make a final decision on his future on Thursday, with reports from Argentina suggesting he is likely to opt to remain at Camp Nou.
The 33-year-old refused to turn up for coronavirus testing and has therefore not trained under new manager Ronald Koeman, insisting that he has triggered a clause in his contract to terminate his deal and walk away for free.
Both Barcelona and La Liga have rejected that standpoint, insisting that the only way Messi can force an exit is if his €700m release clause is paid. That was the message relayed to Messi's father, Jorge, when he met with club officials on Wednesday.
Barça have instead asked Messi to stay, and according to TyC Sports' Martín Arévalo, there is a 90% chance that Messi will choose to remain at Camp Nou for one more season before definitively leaving next year.
Arévalo, who was the first man to report on Messi's famous burofax transfer request, later revealed on Instagram that the forward will make a final decision on Thursday, adding that he is evaluating staying and there is 'a concrete chance' he will do so.
That opinion was also backed up by FOX Sports' Marcelo Sottile, who states that the meeting between Messi's father and the club actually went well and there is a real chance that he will choose to stay.
Nevertheless, Manchester City will continue to monitor the situation in the hope of striking a once-in-a-lifetime deal, but a source has confirmed to 90min that they will only push on in their pursuit of Messi if manager Pep Guardiola agrees to sign a new contract.
They are however waiting for Messi's path out of Barcelona to clear before making their move. At present, it's not looking as likely to happen as it has been in recent weeks.
It is thought that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu even offered Messi a new two-year contract to put rumours of a move to City to bed, but the belief is that Messi still sees his cycle at Barça as having come to an end and is therefore unlikely to sign it.
He still wants to leave Barcelona but is well aware that no club will be able to sign him if the club refuse to lower their asking price, so his plan now appears to be to walk away for free in 2021 when there will be no doubts.
It is possible that Messi will choose to continue his legal battle this summer in an attempt to walk away from Camp Nou immediately, but all the signs suggest that he may opt for one final year in Spain.