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Lionel Messi is looking one step closer to the Barcelona exit door after reports emerged from France that the Argentine ace is the target of a summer move for the deep pockets of cash-rich Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi came as close as he ever has to leaving Barcelona prior to the start of this current season as he attempted to take advantage of language in his contract which suggested he would be able to depart the club after repeated humiliations on the pitch, capped by the ignominy of an 8-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.

Manchester City and Pep Guardiola were reportedly interested, with Messi also said to have pushed for a move to the blue half of Manchester, but the Argentine skipper ultimately withdrew his request to leave when it appeared that the internal rancor would lead him to the courtroom sooner than it would Manchester. 

But according to French football reporter Daniel Riolo, another contender has emerged for Messi’s signature if, as looks likely, he once again attempts to engineer a move at the end of this season.

🚨 JUST IN: Lionel Messi will be a Paris Saint-Germain player “next year”, according to @DanielRiolo. pic.twitter.com/UGuTIM9EWw

While this remains purely speculative at this point, PSG remains one of just a handful of clubs who could assemble the type of financial package which might help lure the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to the French capital. 

Should Messi make the move to Paris, he will be reunited with his former Barca colleague Neymar – who said this week that one of his main footballing desires is to reunite with Messi.

What I want most is to play with Messi again,” Neymar told ESPN on Wednesday. “I want to play with him. I’ll let him play in my position if he wants! Next year, we have to play together, for sure.”

A Messi-led Paris Saint-Germain would immediately become one of the most feared forward lines in world football, particularly when you add the prodigious French forward Kylian Mbappe to what would be a fearsome three-pronged forward line.