Lionel Messi’s arrival at Paris Saint-Germain would not force Kylian Mbappe’s exit, Mauricio Pochettino says, amid speculation that the former Barcelona attacker could be set to move to the French capital.
The ex-Blaugrana forward has been linked with a switch to Parc des Princes following the shock news of his Camp Nou exit on Thursday, though the matter of Financial Fair Play regulations is thought to be a stumbling block.
One option for PSG would be to cut loose France star Mbappe, previously linked with the exit door this summer, but Pochettino has laughed off suggestions that the forward would have to make way for any potential Messi arrival, while stating that he has had no contact with his fellow Argentine.
“I have not spoken with [Messi],” Pochettino told a pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s Ligue 1 opener against Troyes. “And [any move] would not mean that Kylian would leave.
“A player of Messi’s calibre, that is what is interesting to me. The club are working on several options, but we must focus on the game with Troyes.
“We know about what happened yesterday. The club is working on the transfer window and on the elements that could come in to improve the team and allow us to achieve our goals.”
In what has become a fast-moving situation, the veteran attacker seemed poised to commit to a long-term five year deal to see out the rest of his career at Barcelona, and with a hefty wage reduction.
But financial hurdles have not been cleared by the Blaugrana, leaving the 34-year-old looking for a new home at short notice, with a likely final shot at World Cup glory at Qatar 2022 looming on the horizon.
While there is no fee to sign Messi, there are few clubs who would be able to deliver the figures needed for his salary, and arguably fewer who could match his ambition.
It has left PSG – where former team-mate Neymar has committed his long-term future – and City – where former mentor and manager Pep Guardiola has just spent £100 million ($139m) on Jack Grealish – as the two most realistic destinations.
Unless his situation is resolved quickly, however, it means that Messi will likely miss the opening weeks of the new 2021-22 campaign as he seeks a new home.
On the back of an international season that saw him finally land the Copa America, it has caused uncertainty for Messi.
PSG have already begun their campaign, with a defeat to Lille in the Trophee des Champions earlier this month, while City will face Leicester in the FA Community Shield this weekend.