Lionel Messi will stay at Paris Saint-Germain for at least one more season as the club prepare to build the team around the Argentine, most likely under a new manager.
Despite being crowned Ligue 1 champions on Saturday with four games to spare, PSG are considering the futures of both head coach Mauricio Pochettino and sporting director Leonardo, Sky Sports News understands.
The club’s owners remain unsatisfied with the team’s performance in the Champions League, having been knocked out at the last-16 stage by Real Madrid, despite putting together arguably the world’s most formidable front three of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Messi completed the trio on a free transfer from Barcelona last summer in the hope of challenging for the Champions League, although he understood it would be difficult to lift that trophy in his first season at the Parc des Princes, Sky Sports News has been told.
He remains committed to this cause but, with Mbappe out of contract at the end of the season and in talks with Real Madrid, while PSG are open to letting Neymar move on, the team is set to be rebuilt again this summer at the beginning of a new cycle, most probably under a new first-team boss, and in a way to get the most from Messi.
It was his excellent goal that earned the final point needed to lift the Ligue 1 title with a 1-1 draw over Lens and, since he joined, the club have sealed nine new lucrative sponsorship deals – the latest one with footwear marketplace Goat being worth €50m over three years.
PSG’s owners have no concerns over the few jeers towards Messi from a section of supporters – but the more widespread booing of Pochettino, despite him lifting a third trophy as boss, is increasingly likely to mark the end of his tenure.
Pochettino’s position has been uncertain for some time, and a variety of well-placed sources have told Sky Sports News that he has also been unsatisfied and unsettled in France for just as long.
The 50-year-old, who was interviewed by Manchester United before they appointed Erik ten Hag and was also linked with a return to Tottenham last summer, still lived in a hotel in Paris until a few months ago, while his family remains settled in London, and he is said to be frustrated at the limited impact he has been able to have on the club’s philosophy, especially its recruitment policy.
That has been led by Leonardo, who admitted at the weekend that “I made mistakes on recruitment and management”, and Pochettino is said to have had minimal say on most of last summer’s additions except for right-back Achraf Hakimi, while he is understood not have wanted some new additions at all, including free agent Sergio Ramos.
Ramos has had an injury-ravaged season and made just 10 appearances in all competitions, and he is another high-profile player whom PSG are expected to try to negotiate an exit for this summer. Also on the market are said to be their other Argentine players Mauro Icardi and Leandro Paredes, while Angel Di Maria is also out of contract along with Mbappe.