The biggest headline in the football news right now is the unfolding transfer saga of Lionel Messi. I don’t normally discuss transfer news unrelated to Liverpool directly but I felt it would be a disservice to my readers if I didn’t write something about the Messi saga. We’ve only barely dethroned Manchester City and now they are trying to get one of the greatest players of all time to stop us.
I guess it’s best to start this story from the beginning for those who have been living under a rock the last few weeks or so. It was the Quarter Final of the Champions League about a week and half ago. Once again a boastful Barcelona were the “victims” in a humiliating defeat. This time they were dismantled by Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. The final score of 8-2 looked like an aggregate from 2 matches but the Massacre of Messi was done in 90 minutes. Barcelona were once again eliminated from the Champions League.
Apparently the result was enough to inspire the Barcelona board members to clean house. The manager was sacked and many of the team’s veteran players were told to find new clubs. Barcelona moved quickly to sign former club legend Ronald Koeman as the new manager.
The rumor being circulated by many sources is that Koeman told Lionel the Messi show is over. Messi’s special priveledges and influence on the team were done and Koeman was taking the reins with an iron fist.
I guess Messi wasn’t too pleased. After the 3rd season in a row being eliminated in the Quarter finals of the Champion’s league, Messi was already having second thoughts about staying at the Catalan club. At the age of 33 Messi doesn’t have too many more years being the “best player on Earth” and he doesn’t want to waste his remaining years waiting for Barca to sort their shit out.
So the news erupted like an alien bursting from Ronald Koeman’s stomach. Lionel Messi wants out! Supposedly Messi sent Barcelona a fax outlining his plans to leave and sign for Manchester City “Who play beautiful football!” I guess he didn’t feel like sending an email or a text?
At this point no one really knows what’s 100% fact and what’s been exaggerated or added on for the story but Barcelona have officially confirmed Messi’s desire to leave. They also confirmed his ridiculous buy out clause of nearly a billion dollars and said Messi won’t leave for cheap.
Shortly after stories emerged that Messi had a special clause in his contract stipulating he could leave at the end of any season for free if he choose to. Thinking the season had just ended, Messi planned to trigger this clause allowing Manchester City to sign Messi for cheap. I say cheap if you don’t include his almost 1 million dollar a week salary YIKES!
Manchester City crunched the numbers and even after narrowly avoiding a Champion’s league ban and millions in fines for breaking financial fair play restrictions in July, City’s mega rich owners think they have the cash to bring in Messi. Rumors claim City’s ownership have offered Messi a contract that would include 3 years at the Ethiad and a future move to their MLS franchise in New York.
Further stories cast doubt on any interested party signing Messi on a free. Reports indicate the clause was very specific to indicate the month of June and not the end of any particular season. Since this season ended in August, Messi couldn’t leave on a free based on a legal technicality.
This led to a very “Messy” situation (I have been waiting all article to use that one). Would Barcelona risk tarnishing the reputation of their greatest ever player taking him to court over his wishes to leave? Would Messi risk destroying his relationship with the Barcelona fans worldwide by leaving with a nasty legal feud? Right now we are in sort of a stand off with both sides keeping their cards close to their chest.
My personal analysis of the Messi situation is like this, as a Liverpool fan I really don’t want Manchester City to sign Messi ha ha. A few other respected writers and some of the people around me have said it would be exciting and positive for the Premier League if Messi came. I don’t care. The league is at it’s peak of excitement and entertainment for me when Liverpool is winning and I don’t want 34 year old Messi messing it up. Messi can go to Italy for all I care. Go play for Inter and renew your Ronaldo Rivalry.
Personal feelings aside, it seems like a slap in the face to financial fair play and European football as a whole if Manchester City can sign Messi without selling other big names in the process. Myself and a few other news sources are questioning whether any team including Manchester City can even realistically afford Messi in the current financial uncertainty caused by the global pandemic. There’s news that FFP will be more relaxed this year to accommodate setbacks from the pandemic. Could City take advantage?
PSG, the only club who could potentially afford Messi’s wages have also been linked but most expect Messi to favor linking up with former manager Pep Gaurdiola.
Lets look at this from Barcelona’s point of view. Typically Barcelona spend big on players but right now due to the pandemic and few poor purchases over the last few seasons, they aren’t exactly flush with cash. If Messi were to leave tomorrow on a free, Barcelona probably wouldn’t be prepared financially to replace him or the other older departing players in their squad. Realistically that would probably cost half a billion at least.
I think out of desperation Barca will do whatever they can to hold on to Messi unless a suitable offer comes in that would provide enough money to find a replacement. Would Messi be so heartless to leave Barcelona in a shambles with no money to spend on replacements? I don’t think so. I think Manchester City have probably assured him behind the scenes they will pay what it takes to sign him if it comes to an enormous fee. A 3 player plus cash deal including Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Eric Garcia and $130 million has been mentioned online but no concrete news on any negotiations or deals at this time.
It’s worth mentioning that as of writing this article, the bookies and sports experts of the gambling world still see Messi staying at Barcelona as the most likely outcome.
According to the Guillem Balague, Barcelona club President Josep Maria Bartomeu could potentially face jail time if he mishandles the situation with Messi. If you think this is an exaggeration, his predecessor Sandro Rosell served 20 months in prison for mishandling funds before being acquitted.
If the sale of Messi goes poorly or Barcelona don’t get top dollar for their most prized asset, the next president could accuse Bartomeu of corruption or mishandling funds with very little evidence beyond saying Messi was worth more then what they got.
La Liga backed Barcelona this week, stating they had reviewed the contracts and Messi’s massive release clause was still valid. Messi would be forced to honor his contract for the time being.
Unless the exact release clause is matched Bartomeu will do everything he can to prevent Messi from leaving to avoid any misinterpretations of the deal.
On Monday morning Messi failed to show up to Barcelona’s training session in a sign of defiance and proof he’s ready to go the extra mile to exit Barcelona at all costs. It looks like this transfer battle is about to get ugly…
I’m Jordan Gerrard and as always, I thank you for reading!