Surprise European giants 'join race' to sign Messi

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Italian giants Inter Milan are now reportedly pursuing Lionel Messi's signature.
Italian giants Inter Milan are now reportedly pursuing Lionel Messi's signature.

A surprise European club is now reportedly in contention to sign Lionel Messi.

With Messi's contract at Paris Saint-Germain set to expire at the end of the season, the 35-year-old appears to not be short of potential suitors, with a new club said to be in the frame. 

Read: Ronaldo 'owed' €20m by ex-club

While PSG are understood to be keen to extend the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner's stay with them, it was reported earlier this month that the Ligue 1 club is in a tricky situation financially and are at risk of breaching UEFA financial fair play regulations.

Messi's former employers FC Barcelona, whom he has also been linked with of late, find themselves in a similar position as they cannot make any signings going forward unless they offload some of their current players and lower their wage bill.

Outside of Europe, it is believed that US club Inter Miami and Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia are also interested in securing his signature, although the Argentina captain is said to have ruled out a potential move to the Middle East last week. 

Now, according to journalist Sergio Gonzalez, Italian giants Inter Milan are planning to swoop in the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner on a free deal ahead of next season, with their vice-president Javier Zanetti, who played with Messi for Argentina, said to be a key part of the potential transfer.

"Early morning bomb in Messi code. A reliable source tells me that Inter Italy intends to sign Leo," Gonzalez wrote on Twitter.

"The Zanetti factor. The deadlock of its extension in Paris. Barca conditioned by the FPF and drowned by [Javier] Tebas.

"Will Pupi [Zanetti] manage to get him?"

Read: Casemiro speaks on Ancelotti's links to Brazil

With talks between Messi and PSG having reportedly stalled in recent weeks, Zanetti admitted last month the Serie A giants did, in fact, try to sign Messi when he left the Blaugrana in 2021, saying that PSG's offer was superior to their bid. 

"We spoke to Messi because of the relationship we have when there was this possibility that he would leave Barcelona," he told DAZN.

"I would never have imagined his farewell to Barcelona. But we cannot realistically compete, from an economic point of view, with teams like [Manchester] City or Paris Saint Germain."

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