As the Lionel Messi transfer saga rages on, there still has not been any official movement from Barcelona. The superstar made it clear last week that he wants out of Barca after the roughest season he’s experienced at the club. But is there a chance he actually stays put? 

On Wednesday, the club reportedly said it won’t negotiate Messi’s exit and even offered a two-year contract, according to Cope. That came after a meeting between club president Josep Bartomeu and Messi’s father and agent, Jorge Messi. 

On Thursday, Messi’s father spoke to Deportes Cuatro and didn’t appear to rule out his son staying:

The report asked, “Are you considering the possibility of Messi staying and for him to leave next year for free?”

Messi’s father responded simply by saying, “I don’t know.”

Now, of course, take that for what it is worth. If he wasn’t considering staying, would he have been truthful and said no? It’s obviously hard to tell.

With reported interest from Manchester City and PSG, and with Messi failing to show up for coronavirus testing and training, this feels like a crucial week when it comes to Messi’s future. Both La Liga and the Premier League are set to begin on Sept. 12. 

Bartomeu not wanting to negotiate and then offering a two-year contract extension seems like an interesting tactic that probably won’t work. The question now is — would Messi be willing to stay one more year and then leave?

Earlier in the week, his father was interviewed briefly by Spanish TV program El Chiringuito upon exiting a taxi before the meeting, and there he said it would be difficult for Messi to stay.

The reported asked, “How do you see the situation?” 

“Difficult,” Jorge Messi said. 

The reporter then asked, “Difficult for him to stay?”

He responded with “yes.”

Jorge Messi went on to say he doesn’t know what will happen, while also saying he doesn’t know if Manchester City is an option. Jorge Messi also said he has not spoken with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. 

A move to City would make them the clear favorites to win next season’s Champions League, but pulling off the financial part of a move like this would be tricky. Messi’s buyout clause is 700 million euros. 

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