Lionel Messi has asked his representatives to set up a meeting with the Barcelona board so that an amicable agreement can be reached over his future but the Catalan club have showed no signs of accepting the olive branch.

It would have been the first time the two sides had come together since Messi’s bombshell burofax was sent to the club on Tuesday informing them that he wanted to leave on a free-transfer.

But Barcelona’s initial reaction to the offer was to reaffirm their insistence that the Manchester City target is not for sale.

If Messi’s people are denied a meeting then Messi not turning up to the club’s training ground for the first day of pre-season on Sunday will once again be an option as he tries to force a move to the Etihad.

It looks increasingly as if only a process of negotiation between Messi and Barcelona will resolve the current stalemate.

But Barcelona are for now insisting the player’s contract does not make him a free agent because the deadline passed in June for him to tell the club he wanted to leave.

The spirit of the law might give Messi room to argue that the season was extended because of the pandemic therefore extending his window of opportunity to terminate his contract, but the ‘spirit of the law’ would not win in court.

Manchester City certainly have no interest in taking Messi on a free courtesy of a provisional International Transfer Certificate from FIFA, only to then have to sweat on a judge’s verdict on the player’s Barcelona contract. The club want his situation cleared up first.

Messi believes after 20 years’ service to Barcelona he deserves to go on his terms as he would have been allowed to do had he exercised that right at the start of June.

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