- Messi set for PSG exit
- Barca return heavily mooted
- Xavi insists move is up to player
WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine World Cup winner's future looks set to dominate this summer's transfer window, as clubs from the Premier League to Saudi Arabia line up to secure his signature before he hits free agency at Paris Saint-Germain. But a romantic return to Barcelona has been the most speculated on, which Xavi has stressed in the past is dependent on Messi's preferences this summer.
WHAT THEY SAID: The La Liga-winning boss reiterated those words in an interview with TV3 on Tuesday, stating: "It depends on him [Messi]. If he wants to come to Barça, we will do everything necessary so that he can come. I think the conditions are right. Football-wise I think he could still help us a lot. But it depends on him 99 percent."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The main stumbling block to a sensational return remains the club's precarious finances, particularly their high wage bill. In an attempt to lower it, Barcelona have said goodbye to veterans Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets this summer, just six months after Gerard Pique also left the club. All three played alongside Xavi in one of the most famed Barca sides in football history, and the Catalan tactician has revealed the difficulty of having to let them go as their manager.
"I thought it would be easier," he added. "When you have to make decisions contrary to what the player would want, it starts to become difficult. Especially when it comes to friends, like Gerard. I told him he had to step aside, and it was hard for me to fall asleep. Jordi got angry, but he showed me that he was 100 percent committed. With Busquets, everything has been easier. All three have been able to leave at the right time."
IN THREE PHOTOS:GettyGetty ImagesGetty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? Even despite the lowered wage bill, doubts remain over the viability for the Argentine's return. Barca have reportedly started talks with Inter Miami over an exchange deal to help bring Messi to Catalunya this summer, while rumours of a PSG stay have been sparked after he featured in the club's promotional video for their 2023-24 home kit.