LIONEL MESSI is on the verge of quitting Barcelona after requesting to leave his boyhood club.
The 33-year-old Nou Camp legend demanded Barca exercise a clause in his contract that would allow him to quit for nothing with immediate effect.
But the Spanish giants believe the stipulation expired expired on June 10, with the Argentine superstar under contract until the summer of 2021.
Club and player seem set for a legal battle over the clause, with Barcelona believing his €700m (£629m) buy-out clause is still valid.
And with wages totalling £1.15m per week – it leaves very few teams capable of facilitating a move for Messi – here SunSport list five possible options.
Since Pep Guardiola – who managed Messi for four seasons – took over at the Etihad in 2016, he has spent £700m on transfers.
It indicates they have the backing to pull off a mega-money transfer for Messi, despite escaping a Financial Fair Play penalty this year.
Acccording to Radio Catalunya, Messi has already spoken to Guardiola about a move to Manchester.
And having grown frustrated throughout last season, reuniting with a familiar face could convince the forward to choose City.
The French champions, like City, seem to have no limits when it comes to the transfer market.
Having already broke the record when they signed Neymar for £198m from Barca three years ago, PSG are not afraid to role the dice and break the bank.
It has been claimed Messi is open to linking up with strike partner Neymar again, with the Ligue 1 kings desperate to win the Champions League.
But Messi’s £64m-a-year basic wages could prove to be a problem even for PSG, who pay £33m to Neymar and £19m to Kylian Mbappe every season.
United have reportedly not wasted any time in making contact with Messi’s representatives regarding a transfer.
That is despite the fact they have so far failed to stump up the cash for Jadon Sancho – who Borussia Dortmund value at £108m.
Messi is also said to prefer a move to Manchester rivals City or PSG over United.
But SPORT, say Old Trafford bosses are confident they have the funds to pursue the sensation move.
The Blues looked disinterested in tempting Messi to London – until Rio Ferdinand tweeted news that Frank Lampard was in for the Argentine.
Chelsea last season completed deals for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner and have carried over the spending to this season.
They are close to wrapping up transfers for Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell – while also testing the market for a keeper.
Making a swoop for Messi at this time seems unlikely, even if they do raise funds from money made by flogging unwanted flops.
Throughout Messi’s Barca turmoil this year, Serie A giants Inter Milan are understood to have been monitoring the situation
Their former owner Massimo Moratti even revealed the club will plan to prize the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to Italy.
Inter have the backing of Chinese chairman Steven Zhang, son of billionaire Zhang Jindong.
Messi’s dad is also believed to have a home in Milan, fuelling speculation his son could be plotting a switch to the San Siro.