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L. Messi

‘Great players like Messi will always be on PSG’s list’ – Leonardo hints at Barcelona raid while discussing Mbappe & Neymar deals

13:36 GMT 18/01/2021
Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21 PSG
The sporting director at Parc des Princes has refused to rule out a move being made to add another superstar attacker to Mauricio Pochettino’s squad

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has admitted that “great players like Lionel Messi” will always be of interest to the Ligue 1 giants, while he remains optimistic on new contracts being agreed with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Fresh terms for two superstars already on the club’s books are an issue of immediate concern for the French champions to address.

Attention is, however, being allowed to drift towards the future and potential additions at Parc des Princes in upcoming transfer windows.

A move for six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi has been mooted, as his deal runs down at Barcelona, with the mercurial Argentine continuing to head towards free agency.

PSG are one of the few clubs in world football that could afford to offer an all-time great the financial and sporting package required to match his ambition.

Leonardo has suggested that an agreement could be reached if all parties open themselves up to talks, but he is reluctant to spend too much time discussing a matter that remains purely speculative for now.

Quizzed by France Football on links to a Barca icon, Leonardo said: “Great players like Messi will always be on PSG's list. But this is of course not the time to talk about it, or to dream about it.

“But we are seated at the large table of those clubs who are following the matter closely. In fact, no, we are not yet seated, but our chair is reserved just in case. Four months in football is an eternity, especially in this period.”

While Messi remains something of a dream for PSG, retaining the services of Neymar and Mbappe is of obvious benefit to an ambitious outfit in the present.

Both forwards are currently tied down until 2022, but extension discussions are planned as Leonardo and Co seek to retain the services of prolific Brazil and France internationals.

“I hope they are convinced that PSG is a good place at the moment for a very high level and ambitious footballer,” added Leonardo.

“We just have to find an agreement between their desires, their requirements, our expectations and our means.

“We don't have to beg them: ‘Please stay’. It's discussed more than that. Those who really want to stay will stay. We talk regularly and I have good feelings on these two issues.”

Leonardo has also addressed the matter of Thomas Tuchel’s recent departure from PSG, with the German being succeeded in the dugout by former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

“We knew, and he (Tuchel) knew, that it would be difficult to renew his contract at the end of the season,” said Leonardo.

“But there, we decided to anticipate a little. We did not change coaches to show off. I don't think it could be a surprise for Tuchel. It was not the first time that we discussed the situation together.

“Maybe he didn't understand me anymore. You don't run a club with whims. Do you think that we are spending millions buying players or building a new training centre and that we will spend just a few minutes to part with a coach on a whim?”