Inter Miami in ‘ongoing’ conversations to land Messi, sources say – Sports Business Journal

Lionel Messi psg GETTY

Lionel Messi, shown here playing for PSG, would arguably be the most high-profile acquisition in MLS historyGetty Images

Conversations between Inter Miami and Lionel Messi are ongoing and have “reached an advanced stage, but there is more negotiating to be done and it would be ‘premature’ to report that a deal is imminent,” according to sources cited by Michelle Kaufman of the MIAMI HERALD. The sources said that Messi is “considering a move to Miami, and it is closer to reality than it had been in the past.” They added that he “would like to spend a few years” in MLS if the circumstances “were right.” Kaufman noted there is “one clue that suggests the Messi-to-Miami move could happen” following the wrap of Paris Saint-Germain’s season in June. Kaufman: “A team source said they had a 2023 season ticket special for Black Friday running this weekend, but after a flood of calls Sunday following the latest Messi reports, the club will likely pull the special and postpone sales for now.” Messi’s contract with PSG runs through May 2023. Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas “hinted” at the start of last season the club “would extend a lucrative offer” if Messi chose to leave PSG. Messi currently earns $41M per year at PSG. To lure Messi, MLS, Adidas and other sponsors could “get involved to sweeten the deal with creative packages” the way they did with David Beckham in 2007 (MIAMI HERALD, 11/27).

HOLD THAT THOUGHT: SKY SPORTS’ Lyall Thomas reports remaining at PSG is Messi’s “first option and the French club are understood to have approached him about entering negotiations over an extension.” Messi is “concentrating on the World Cup with Argentina so will not consider his future options formally until January, when he can also speak to other top clubs outside France.” But he believes he “still has more years left in him at the top European level, having settled and impressed further in his second season at PSG” (SKY SPORTS, 11/28).

BENDING BECKHAM’S EAR: In London, Matt Lawton reported the influence of Beckham, a co-owner of Inter Miami, is also “said to be a key part of the deal.” Beckham is an ambassador for the Qataris at the World Cup and he has “a direct line to the owners of PSG.” Beckham’s relationship has also “been cemented” by the two’s long association with Adidas. MLS “has signed some big names in the past, including Beckham himself,” but with the arrival of the next World Cup to take place in the U.S., the arrival of Messi “would be timely.” If Messi were to join MLS, the deal “will make the 35-year-old the highest-paid player in the history of MLS.” The arrival of Messi “would certainly elevate the position of MLS in the U.S. sporting landscape and accelerate the growth of the game in what remains a massive, relatively untapped market” (LONDON TIMES, 11/27).