Mauricio Pochettino is reluctant to be drawn on speculation linking Lionel Messi with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, but admits that “there are players finishing their contracts” that will form part of transfer “strategies” for various clubs.
A superstar performer on the books at Barcelona is among those to be in the process of running down their respective deals.
As things stand, six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is due to hit free agency in the summer, with PSG said to form part of an elite group of suitors that could match the Argentine’s sporting and financial ambition.
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What has been said?
“I understand that you should speak as little as possible about a player who isn't in your team,” Pochettino has told El Transistor when quizzed on the endless Messi rumours.
“But all teams have strategies for signings and there are players who are finishing their current contracts.”
Are PSG keen on Messi?
The Ligue 1 champions have been heavily linked with the South American throughout a long-running saga at Camp Nou.
Various figures at Parc des Princes have speculated on the chances of luring an all-time great to France.
Barca have hit back at their European arrivals and accused PSG of disrespecting them, with Messi making it clear that no decision on his future will be made any time soon, but Pochettino insists that is not the case.
He added: “They ask Di Maria if he wants to play with Messi… well, what do you want him to answer?
“This is not him disrespecting Barcelona, let’s not take things out of context.”
The bigger picture
Rumours appear set to rumble on for some time yet, with Goal learning that Messi will wait until the summer before deciding on his next move.
Barca remain hopeful that fresh terms can be thrashed out with a talismanic presence, but they are facing financial difficulties and need to convince their long-serving captain that positive progress can be made on and off the field.