KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Lionel Messi has become the first to blink in his stand-off with Barcelona over his demand for the club to concede to his claim for a free transfer this summer.

The 33-year-old club sent Barcelona his formal transfer request on Tuesday but, after the club’s stonewalling response, has now asked for a meeting with officials to find a solution.

This may be easier said than done.

Reports from Spain suggest the attitude of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his directors is: “Either renew your contract or we have nothing to discuss.” This means that the club intends to hold Messi to a contract which expires next year or leave now only in return for someone coming up with the €700m of his recision clause.

It appears Messi’s family and advisers have suggested that it would be better to come to a mutual agreement, both for the sake of his image and to avoid longer-term legal consequences.

On Sunday Messi is not expected to undertake pre-season medical checks or attend Monday’s first pre-season training session under newcoach Ronald Koeman.