Barcelona are keen to seal a sensational return for Lionel Messi by offering him a two-year deal, according to reports in Spain.
The Argentine superstar is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer when his contract expires.
Spanish giants Barca could therefore sign the free agent without paying a transfer fee, which is crucial given their massive and highly publicised financial problems.
LaLiga chief Javier Tebas said in March that the club were banned from signing any more players this summer.
But according to Mundo Deportivo, club chiefs at the Catalan side want Messi back and believe his homecoming could represent between a quarter and a third of their income next season.
Barcelona want to secure a sensational return for Lionel Messi (above), according to reports
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is set to leave the club when his contract expires this summer
Barcelona’s board, headed up by president Joan Laporta (pictured), reportedly believe the superstar forward’s return could have the same impact as the lucrative ‘Air Jordan’ Nike brand
The board of directors, headed up by president Joan Laporta, also reportedly believe the World Cup-winning forward’s return could have the same impact as the hugely successful ‘Air Jordan’ Nike brand.
Barcelona manager Xavi has publicly admitted he is in regular discussions with his former team-mate Messi, 35.
The legendary former midfielder is reportedly already counting on having Messi in his squad next season on the playing front.
And on the financial side, club chiefs are said to predict Messi’s return could generate 25 per cent of their income for the 2023-2024 campaign, with the most optimistic adding it could even reach 33 per cent.
Mundo add that representatives from the club’s previous board said Messi offered between £220-265million in income based on merchandise like shirt sales, increased ticket sales, sponsorships, social media engagement and club tours.
That was before he won the 2022 World Cup with Argentina, something Mundo suggests PSG has been unable to exploit because the Albiceleste beat their other hometown star Kylian Mbappe of France in the final.
The proposed two-year deal for Messi would not just allow a one-season ‘last dance’ but could also let him be part of the club’s 125-year anniversary in 2024.
Some club sources are said to believe Messi could be even more of a cash cow than Air Jordans
The 35-year-old won the World Cup with Argentina in 2022 – making him a marketable athlete
Though club sources told Mundo that maximising the revenue of Messi’s return would be a ‘great challenge’, some also feel it could be as lucrative as the famous ‘Air Jordan’ trainer brand.
But Barcelona will have to raise £178million from selling current players if they are to have any chance of entering the transfer market this summer, the club has been informed.
This latest update came in March, less than a month after Laporta claimed the club was in a strong position, vowed to cut £150m from the wage bill, and stated that no player sales would be necessary.
The club previously spent big in the summer of 2022 on the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde, despite seemingly being hamstrung by monetary issues.
However, they triggered several economic levers, including their TV rights, in order to be able to afford the costly outlay, but still are thought to be in debt to the tune of around £1billion.