MLS & Inter Miami working on signing Lionel Messi ahead of Barcelona

Lionel Messi's future is still the talk of the town
Lionel Messi's future is still the talk of the town / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Major League Soccer and Inter Miami remain confident they can beat Barcelona to the signing of Lionel Messi, sources have confirmed to 90min.

The 35-year-old's departure from Paris Saint-Germain has been a long time coming, with many expecting a fairytale return to Barcelona to materialise despite the Catalan giants' ongoing financial difficulties. Messi's father, Jorge, has been in regular dialogue with president Joan Laporta over a return to Camp Nou and it's no secret that it's his preferred destination.

Whether or not Barcelona are in a position to re-sign Messi remains to be seen, despite La Liga approving their financial viability plan. 90min understands that registering Gavi's new contract was the club's first order of business, while Ronald Araujo and Alejandro Balde's improved deals still need to be officially ratified.

Multiple sources have confirmed to 90min that MLS and Inter Miami sense an opportunity to steal in and poach Messi, and there's increasing optimism that a deal can be agreed to take the star of last year's World Cup stateside.

The package offered to Messi is expected to involve payments from MLS' two largest commercial partners, Apple and adidas - both of whom have the financial muscle to help match the potential earnings of a move back to Barcelona.

There's even a possibility that Messi could join Inter Miami before heading back to Barcelona on loan - that would be one way of the Argentine having one last crack at winning the Champions League under Xavi before focusing on MLS for the final years of his career.



Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal have also put a gargantuan offer on the table for Messi, which 90min revealed in May was understood to be worth more than €400m-a-year - significantly more than what Cristiano Ronaldo is earning at Al Nassr.

There's no indication at this stage that Messi is looking to accept that offer, but the longer Barcelona have to drag their heels and iron out their financial plans, the more chance there is of the Argentine growing impatient.

Were Messi to head to Saudi Arabia, he would join Karim Benzema as a marquee arrival in the Middle East - the Frenchman recently penned a three-year deal to join champions Al Ittihad from Real Madrid.

N'Golo Kante and Wilfried Zaha are two other players closing in on a move to Saudi Arabia, with their respective Premier League careers appearing to be coming to an end after receiving huge contract proposals, and a raft of other huge names have been tipped to join Benzema in the not too distant future.


On this week's edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss Ange Postecoglou's appointment at Spurs, Man Utd chasing Rasmus Hojlund, Harry Kane to Real Madrid, Lionel Messi & more!

If you can't see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!