Lionel Messi’s departure from Paris Saint-Germain this summer when his contract expires is likely due to a change in the strategy being implemented by club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Neymar and Kylian Mbappe’s futures are also expected to be under question this summer.
The French club has decided against giving Messi, whose contract expires this summer, a new contract. Barcelona has reportedly made plans to attempt to recruit the Argentine superstar this summer, but due to the Catalan club’s well-known financial difficulties and Messi’s desire to stay in Europe, talks with PSG may be reopened in the summer.
Al-Khelaifi is determined that the club, which is launching a new cutting-edge academy this year, refocuses its strategy to prioritise attracting onboard the finest French footballers and put a greater emphasis on trying young players who have been trained by the club.
The club hired Frenchman Christophe Galtier to succeed Mauricio Pochettino, and of their six summer additions, 26-year-old Fabian Ruiz was the oldest. A large number of players left the first-team squad as it was reduced.
Many of those exits were on loan, and the club was willing to consider permanent bids this summer for players who were under contract. Mauro Icardi, Georginio Wijnaldum, Keylor Navas, Leandro Paredes, and Ander Herrera are among the players on loan.
However, the biggest news from the team last summer was the extension of Mbappe’s contract, which now runs until 2025 with an option for extending with an additional year. The Parisian was set to be the club’s biggest star.
Although Mbappe is not currently preparing for his eventual departure this summer, PSG is aware of how close they came to losing him to Real Madrid as a free agent last summer. With the prospect of a longer-term arrangement and any future leave being on the terms of the club and player, they will be wary of a potential repetition of his contractual situation.
This summer, Neymar’s decision may become more urgent as the 31-year-old has endured another season spoiled by injury. He is one of the club’s highest-paid players and has a strong social position. After leaving Barcelona for £198 million in 2017, he is still the most expensive player in the world.
Under their new internal leadership, PSG is unlikely to engage in similar high-profile transactions, which raises questions about the Brazilian’s future. Todd Boehly, the owner of Chelsea, met with Neymar earlier this year to discuss his availability, and this summer, that desire for him to potentially move to London may be reignited.
Although at least one other Premier League team is said to be interested in Neymar, there may not be many places for the former Barcelona star to go this summer. He is at the point in his career where a high-paying transfer may be his last option because of his escalating injury problems.
PSG will surely be mindful of the implications should both Messi and Neymar decide to leave Paris in the same transfer window since it would require the club to acquire several brilliant new arrivals. However, such scenarios cannot be ruled out.