Inter Milan are reportedly building up to an attempt at pulling off the most audacious deal in the history of football.
The Italian giants are keeping eagle eyes on the unfolding situation with living legend Lionel Messi at Barcelona, who appears to be growing increasingly discontent by the week.
Messi, 33, has not signed a new deal at Barca and is able to walk away for free next summer, and Inter are ready to come in with an astonishingly lucrative deal, as report Italian oulet.
It is claimed Inter will put forward an incredible offer to Messi, with a collective salary of £235million over a four-year contract.
It would see the mercurial playmaker pocket earn just short of £60m per year, and would continue his playing days in European football through to the age of 38.
Such a move would mean Messi would once again be playing in the same league as his age-old rival Cristiano Ronaldo, and would replace the Portuguese superstar as the top earner in Serie A.
Despite reclaiming the Ballon d’Or last year and cementing his status as the best player in world football, Messi has been unable to inspire a struggling Barca team who have surrendered their La Liga title to rivals Real Madrid.
Messi and Barca remain involved in this season’s Champions League, which is set for a delayed conclusion in Portugal next month.
Yet this season Messi’s demeanour has sent waves of concern through the Barca camp, with many now fearing he will call time on the club he has spent the entirety of his senior career with.
Following Barca’s penultimate game of the La Liga season, in which they were embarrassingly beaten 2-1 by Osasuna, an emotional Messi let rip in his post-match comments.
Messi spoke about other sides bettering Barcelona for intensity. ‘This result summed up what we have been all season,’ he said, ‘a very inconsistent team’.
Recently Inter chief Giuseppe Marotta has emphatically played down the chances of the club sensationally signing Messi, claiming the move would be like something out of the realms of ‘fantasy football.’
Marotta was forced to address the topic after a large silhouette image of Messi was beamed onto Milan’s famous Duomo cathedral, causing mass hysteria.
According to NobleSports, Inter’s majority owners used the image to publicise the televising of the club’s game against Napoli on Tuesday evening in China.
And Marotta insisted that he cannot see how Inter can make any deal happen for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner at this moment in time.
Marotta told NS: ‘Messi on the cathedral? It wasn’t my idea. It reminds me of football from the past with such situations. We are talking about an icon, a great player, a desire that everyone has.’
Marotta went onto stress that it would be ‘extraordinary to see such a champion at Inter’, before adding: ‘It’s fantasy football, a utopian situation.’