According to El Nacional, Manchester United is interested in acquiring the services of Lionel Messi and may offer him the iconic '7' shirt that was previously worn by Cristiano Ronaldo, his generational rival.
Messi will become a free agent on June 30 when his contract with Paris Saint Germain expires. L'Equipe released a snippet from a report on Tuesday alleging that Messi will leave PSG unless he agrees to a pay cut.
Last week, the same French sports magazine reported that Messi is currently the third-highest earner in French football, with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in first and second place, respectively.
PSG is struggling to navigate Financial Fair Play limits, which is why they need Messi to reduce his wages. Manchester United, however, is not facing such difficulties and reportedly wants to offer Messi a new challenge in his illustrious career.
Although Messi has never played in the Premier League, he could help Manchester United win their first English top-flight title since 2013 under Erik ten Hag's management. Additionally, he could possibly inherit Cristiano Ronaldo's '7' shirt.
In the summer of 2020, Messi was heavily linked with Manchester City when he sent the infamous Burofax to demand that then-president Josep Bartomeu release him from his FC Barcelona contract. Although he stayed at Camp Nou for another season, he left for PSG the following year when the Catalans failed to offer him a new contract that would allow them to comply with La Liga's strict salary cap.
Although Manchester United is one of the biggest football clubs globally, it seems unlikely that Messi would entertain playing for another European side that is not PSG or Barca or wear a shirt number that would provoke Ronaldo, with whom he has a long-standing rivalry.
Barca's vice president, Rafa Yuste, confirmed on Friday that the club is working on a potential return for their greatest ever player, but they are also facing financial hurdles.
However, with the 2022/2023 season nearing its end, clarity on Messi's future is likely to emerge in the next few months.