Lionel Messi is close to signing a deal with Inter Miami next summer, with the US club confident that the Argentina legend will agree after the World Cup in Qatar, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The 35-year-old Messi is still playing at an elite level at Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina. He was expected to return to Barcelona among several possible destinations after the PSG contract expires this summer.

Also Read | FIFA World Cup: Fans troll Germany’s Antonio Rudiger for animated celebration, goal vs Spain ruled off-side

The Miami franchise, co-owned by former English footballer David Beckham, expects Messi to move from PSG at the end of the European season, in a deal that will make him the higher-paid player in the history of MLS, as per the report.

The Times report added that the MLS club managed by former Manchester United player Phil Nevile is also considering signing Messi’s former Barcelona teammates, Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas. Miami seeks to further strengthen their side by recruiting players who can complement Messi’s skills. Beckham played six seasons in MLS for the LA Galaxy from 2007-12.

Also Read | Former FIFA World Cup winner Lothar Matthäus attends Spain vs Germany in Al Bayt Stadium: Watch

Messi left Barcelona for a $41 million yearly salary with PSG in 2021, winning the Ligue 1 crown in France last season.

According to an interview published Sunday by El Mundo Deportivo, Inter Miami chief business officer (CBO) Xavier Asensi, who formerly worked in Barcelona’s front office, suggested the MLS organization expected to work out a deal with Messi.

Also Read | Dani Olmo hits crossbar, nearly scores Spain’s first goal vs Germany in FIFA World Cup 2022: Watch

“You can’t compare Leo Messi with any other player; he’s different. Having said that, what we’re looking for is to be the reference point for football in the U.S., and to do that, the important thing is the players and the show that you can put on,” Asensi said. “To do so, you need the best players, and having them is a genuine objective at this club. In terms of Leo Messi, there’s him and then there’s everyone else,” he added.

Also Read | Why Yassine Bounou was replaced by Munir Mohand Mohamedi

Inter Miami played its first playoff game in 2022, its third season in MLS. The squad is coached by Phil Neville and boasted Messi’s pal Gonzalo Higuain until the player retired this summer. Alejandro Pozuelo is out of contract and star Leonardo Campana was on loan from Wolves this season. Still on the roster are USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin and former Arsenal back Kieran Gibbs.