Inter Milan chief addresses Lionel Messi transfer links with clear statement

Inter Milan's sporting director Piero Ausilio has made clear the club's stance on signing Lionel Messi this summer.

Messi is currently involved in a contract wrangle with Barcelona after telling the Catalan club he wants to leave.

Manchester City are the favourites to sign the Argentine superstar, whose father Jorge has travelled to Spain for showdown talks aimed at securing a compromise over Messi's £625million release fee.

But Inter are also among the clubs rumoured to be plotting to swoop for Messi – along with Paris-Saint Germain and Juventus.

However, Ausilio has suggested the Serie A giants simply cannot afford the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

I don't know where certain ideas come from," he told Sky Sports.

"If we talk about Messi, there is no club that doesn't want to sign him [but] the reality is different. In the market, we must be careful and smart.

"We know what we have to do. First of all, the exits. Through these, we will finance the newcomers.

"The opportunities are few and the ones we can take are not so expensive."

Jorge Messi, who acts as his son's representative, is set to meet Barca president Josep Bartomeu on Wednesday.

He will tell the beleaguered Barca chief that Messi will not go back on his stance that he wants to quit the Nou Camp.

Messi's camp believe a clause in the player's contract enabling him to leave the Catalan club for nothing is still valid because the season was extended due to the coronavirus crisis.

Barcelona believe that clause expired in June, and have been backed in that stance by La Liga.

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Bartomeu has insisted that any negotiations will only be about Messi extending his current contract – but he will be wary that Barcelona could lose the 33-year-old for nothing when his contract expires next summer.

So Messi senior wants to broker a compromise that will allow his son to end his 20-year stay in Barcelona, with both parties wanting to avoid the situation being resolved in court.

Any club that wants to sign Messi will have to spend big, whatever the transfer fee, with Forbes having last year ranked him as the world's highest-paid athlete on wages of around £26m per year.

Is Manchester City the right move for Lionel Messi? Have your say here

As Ausilio points out, the need for Inter to sell before buying would appear to make a swoop for Messi unlikely.

Nerazzurri boss Antonio Conte has been linked with a triple raid on his former club Chelsea for midfielder N'Golo Kante, striker Olivier Giroud and left-back Emerson Palmieri.

Former Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, plus Roberto Gagliardini, Matias Vecino and Marcelo Brozovic are understood to be up for sale as the Italian club bid to raise funds for their squad overhaul.

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