Paris Saint-Germain to continue Lionel Messi contract negotiations despite shocked interest from Barcelona

PSG hope Messi stays in French capital

Paris Saint-Germain will continue contract negotiations with Lionel Messi upon his return from the World Cup, according to the Mail. The 35-year-old’s current contract in the French capital expires this summer and there have been serious rumors about a shock return to Barcelona. The La Liga club’s president Joan Laporta has publicly opened the door for Messi, so PSG are keen to tie the Argentine to a new deal to put an end to the rumours. Messi will be offered a two-year contract with the Ligue 1 champions, while the club intend to offer extensions to Marco Verratti, Sergio Ramos and Presnel Kimpembe as well.

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Paper Round’s point of view: Extending Messi’s contract didn’t seem so bad this summer, but the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has finally found his old form after struggling during his opening campaign in France. Now it looks like PSG will be hoping to keep Messi and Kylian Mbappe in their bid to clinch a Champions League title. This could lead to Neymar’s exit, but there’s no guarantee that PSG will be able to find a suitor. If Messi agrees to stay two more years in Paris, one would think he will end up joining MLS in 2025 for one last day’s pay.

Sanchez fans in the Premier League

Premier League duo Manchester United and Chelsea are interested in Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, according to The Sun. The 24-year-old has been called up for Spain’s World Cup squad and has impressed since joining the Brighton squad two seasons ago. Chelsea boss Graham Potter is a huge fan of his former player, while Manchester United are keeping tabs on Sanchez due to uncertainty surrounding David de Gea’s long-term future at Old Trafford. De Gea’s current contract is due to expire next summer but there is an option to extend his deal for another 12 months.

Paper Round’s point of view: Sanchez is a solid stopper and has proven himself as Premier League quality over the past few years. However, there are still question marks over whether he would perform at a club competing for the European spots. We know there are still mistakes in his game – as seen in Brighton’s loss to Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon. Is he a better option than his compatriots De Gea and Kepa Arrizabalaga? Probably not. Especially since his release clause is said to be around £57million. It’s not exactly cheap.

Barca continue their search for a right-back

Barcelona are preparing their January transfer window plans, with Spanish outlet Sport reporting that the Blaugrana will relaunch their search for a right-back. Adding a new right-back is Barca’s ‘top priority’ due to the long-term lack of trust in Hector Bellerin and Sergi Roberto. Xavi has identified long-term targets Diogo Dalot, Juan Foyth and Benjamin Pavard as first-choice options, but there is also interest in Wilfried Singo and Jeremie Frimpong. The club will focus on a new left centre-back and a deep midfielder in the summer transfer market.

Paper Round’s point of view: More spending at Barcelona…despite their well-known financial problems. Will it end well? Who knows. Yes – the Catalan club probably need a new right-back, but will it make a difference for the rest of their season? It will be a complete disaster (again) if they spend huge fees to bring in any of the names mentioned in January and then fail to earn any silverware this season. As things stand, they top La Liga and face Manchester United in the Europa League. Perhaps a new right-back could be vital for their title hopes.

Guardiola uses the break to decide the future

Pep Guardiola will consider his future at Manchester City during the mid-season break for the 2022 World Cup. The 51-year-old’s current contract with the Premier League champions is due to expire next summer and it is unclear whether Guardiola will extend his time at the Etihad Stadium. The Mail reveal Manchester City insiders believe the next month will be vital and he will visit club officials in Abu Dhabi during the break to brief them on his future plans.

Paper Round’s point of view: It would be a disaster for Manchester City if Guardiola decides to leave when his contract expires this summer. The club would certainly want to know as soon as possible so they can start planning for the future and six months isn’t really long. You would think that Guardiola will be ready to extend his contract – especially as he is currently building a new team around Erling Haaland. It wouldn’t make sense to leave in the summer.

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