And long-term suitors Inter have their own plan to compete with the wealthy Arab-owned clubs for Messi.
Inter are backed by the Suning group, who would love to see Messi at the San Siro.
Steven Zhang, Inter’s chairman, is waiting to understand the costs that will be involved before making any concrete moves.
Messi wants to terminate his contract with Barca, but the Catalan club insist that his deal is watertight and he can’t go for free.
Gazzetta dello Sport claims Inter have had a plan to sign Messi for a while, which they will act on if the conditions are right.
Signing Messi would mean major sponsorships from China, boosting Inter’s turnover and guaranteeing them a return on their investment.
Lautaro for Messi?
The Nerazzurri also have a bargaining chip in the form of €111m-rated Lautaro Martinez, Barcelona’s top summer target.
Talks between the clubs for Lautaro hit a standstill over Inter’s insistence that his full release clause be met.
But Inter could use Barcelona’s interest in Lautaro as part of a deal for Messi, his fellow Argentine international.
Of course, Messi’s own wishes will be decisive and that puts Manchester City in pole position.