Lionel Messi set to agree deal to join Inter Miami next season, report claims
The deal is expected to make Messi the highest-paid player in MSL history
Inter Miami are reportedly close to agreeing a deal with Lionel Messi, with the club said to be confident of landing the Argentina captain after the World Cup.
The Times reported on Sunday that the Miami franchise, part owned by David Beckham, expect the superstar player to leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the European season. His contract is set to expire then.
It suggested the deal will make the 35-year-old the highest-paid player in the history of MLS.
The publication suggested the club was also looking to recruit players who work well with Messi. It reported that his two former Barcelona team-mates — Cesc Fàbregas and Luis Suárez — were among players also being considered.
In June last year Jorge Mas, who co-owns the franchise with Beckham, told the Miami Herald the club hoped to lure one of the greatest players in history.
And in February, Phil Neville told the Times of Inter’s desire to sign him from PSG.
“This club will always want to bring a superstar to Miami, and a lot of top players want to come here because of where we are,” Neville said.
It is understood Messi has a home in Miami and enjoys holidaying there with his family.
Last year he told Spanish media that he would like to play in the US "one day; it's always been one of my dreams".
Beckham’s influence is also said to be a key part of the deal, The Times reported.
As an ambassador for the Qataris at this World Cup, he has a direct line to the owners of PSG. He also has a relationship with Messi through their long association with Adidas.
PSG, The Times suggested, may yet attempt to extend his agreement at the Parc des Princes, especially if he signs off his international career by winning the WC in Qatar.
In the summer, Mas told Sport Central of Miami’s ambitions of attracting the best players to the club, saying: “Both David Beckham and I aspire to bring the best players in the world here to Miami, not only because of the project we are creating.
"We want to be the point of reference for soccer in the United States, but when you talk about the best players in the world, Leo is obviously the best player on the planet.
“Hopefully the conditions will be met for him to be there, playing with the Inter Miami jersey. We aspire to that. I hope the circumstances are given. We have nothing guaranteed, there is no agreement, but I am a very optimistic man and I hope that in the future Leo Messi can be part of our project."
Read the Times story here.
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