LIONEL MESSI is reportedly heading for the Barcelona exit door with ARSENAL among the teams capable of sealing a deal, according to one report.
Mikel Arteta's side have already bagged a number of new arrivals this summer so why shouldn't the Argentine be the natural next step after Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari were signed to permanent deals?
Indeed, the Gunners have been ranked among the eight clubs best placed to snap up Messi.
Argentine outlet Diario Ole name Arsenal alongside Manchester clubs City and United, big spenders Chelsea, and Paris Saint-Germain.
Inter and AC Milan also make the cut with Juventus finishing off the list of Europe's giants.
Arsenal's biggest problem, according to the report, is money.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the North London outfit particularly hard with sweeping redundancies made across the club staff.
However, they have found the cash to bring in Willian on a £220,000-a-week deal with a bigger slice to be afforded to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if he agrees to renew his contract.
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Further purchases include the aforementioned Mari and imminent arrival Gabriel Magalhaes, combining to cost in the region of £35m.
So now Arsenal have a taste for it, why not go crazy and offer Messi a deal?
It wouldn't even be their first opportunity to sign the legendary forward having purportedly offered him a contract at age 16.
Speaking of those who have caught the spending bug, the report believes Chelsea might have some change left over after investing in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech – plus potential arrivals Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell.
The two most common clubs touted for the shock swoop have been City and Inter.
Messi is said to have already contacted Pep Guardiola's side about a reunion with his former Barcelona boss.
- LIVE: Latest news on Messi's exit
- Messi demanded transfer after Koeman told him "privileges are over"
- The Argentine star faxed his decision to Barcelona
- Fans have been protesting outside the Nou Camp
- Rio Ferdinand claims Chelsea are trying to sign Messi
- Man City favourites to sign him ahead of Man Utd, Inter and PSG
However, having already endured one brush with Uefa, the club are reportedly concerned at how a deal would fit in with Financial Fair Play guidelines.
Inter's Chinese owners are described as seeing the signing as the perfect chance to make a significant statement of intent.
A £230m, four-year contract is supposedly being formulated by the Giuseppe Meazza side with fans excited by Leo's father Jorge having recently bought an apartment near the stadium.
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