Lionel Messi is reportedly set to join MLS side Inter Miami when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the season.
Messi, 35, left Barcelona in 2020 to sign a two-year contract at the Parc des Princes.
After a difficult debut season in French football, in which he managed just six goals in Ligue 1, Messi has rediscovered his form and is now looking back at his glorious best.
He has scored 12 goals and provided 13 assists in 17 appearances for PSG this season in all competitions.
With the Argentina international entering the final year of his PSG deal, speculation continues to mount over whether he will choose to extend his stay in Paris, return to Barcelona or move elsewhere.
It appears the third option is more likely, with Inter Miami reportedly in pole position to sign the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Athletic claim the MLS franchise, co-owned by David Beckham and managed by Phil Neville, are increasingly confident of signing Messi after holding talks with the Argentine star for several years.
“Jorge and Jose Mas – the brothers who co-own Inter Miami with Beckham – are leading the negotiations and numerous meetings have taken place with the star’s father, Jorge,” reported The Athletic’s David Ornstein.
Messi and his representatives are not expected to hold any further contract negotiations until after the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, which runs from November 20 to December 18.
From January, Messi will complete the last six months of his current contract with PSG and will be able to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club, such as Inter Miami.
If Inter pull off a shock move for Messi, it would surely be the biggest signing in MLS history – surpassing Beckham’s own move to the United States with the LA Galaxy in 2007.
Miami is said to be “a source of attraction for Messi’s family” who already own a property in the city.
Meanwhile, Miami also has strong community ties to South America, another potential draw for the PSG star.
Another attractive factor for all parties is Messi’s potential impact on soccer in the United States ahead of the 2026 World Cup.
The tournament will be co-hosted by the United States, along with neighbors Canada and Mexico.
Inter – which was only founded in 2018 – is set to become a major force in MLS in the coming years.
Neville has exceeded expectations by guiding the team to the play-offs this season, while there is said to have been “structural progress behind the scenes”.
Miami have now been given the go-ahead to start construction on a new $1bn (£860m) stadium – Miami Freedom Park.
While nothing has been agreed with Messi, it is claimed that there is growing confidence that the proposed move to Inter will go ahead.