Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is officially a free agent and can leave the Catalans this summer. Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked to signing the superstar.

Messi had strongly expressed his discontent in playing for Barcelona when Josep Maria Bartomeu was the president of the club.

However, things have changed ever since. Joan Laporta is now the president and has a good relationship with the Argentina captain.

The Copa del Rey victory has given Messi confidence in Barcelona’s future project with young stars coming up. Pedri, Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza, Ansu Fati and Ronald Araujo are all stars for the future.

Barcelona have signed Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero. You cannot help but think that Messi will stay with his boyhood club.

There are talks of Messi holding ongoing conversations for a renewal of his contract but that has been stalled for now.

This is due to the massive debt that Barca has at the moment, as per Laporta.

The club started negotiations in April itself. Since then, they have met or spoken to Messi’s representatives at least 10 times.

“Barcelona are pushing for a quick solution but there are still things to negotiate and no news is expected on Thursday”, said Spanish football writer Guillem Balague.

“They want him to sign as soon as possible, but the timings will be dictated by the resolution of all the details that have not yet been agreed – such as tax issues, Messi’s wages and fitting the new contract within La Liga’s financial fair play rules – to keep the Argentine, the club will have to reduce their wage bill by around 200m euros (£172m).

“There is synergy between both parties and Messi has not listened to any other club yet.”

Messi is currently in Brazil, representing Argentina at the Copa America in his quest to win a first major international trophy with his country.