Lionel Messi: Is he stuck at Barcelona?

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald
  • Updated: 20 May 2021 11:09 BST
  • 3 min read
Lionel Messi: Is he stuck at Barcelona?
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Lionel Messi is entering a phase of his career no-one would have thought possible. He might not be wanted by any club.

That’s the situation the Argentine may be facing after reports on Sunday suggested that Manchester City’s supposed interest is waning. City have always wanted to make Messi the statement signing they’ve lacked for some time; the type of Galactico that would push the club into another dimension from a commercial perspective.

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And Messi’s desire to get out is now well-known. He publicly admitted he wanted to go in the summer and yet his release clause forced him to stay. Now the situation is different. Messi played his hand. Everyone, including Barcelona, City and any other potential buyer, knows his intentions.


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  • That puts him in an extraordinarily difficult position from a negotiation perspective. You can’t demand the type of salary he would want, particularly as a free agent, without having something to barter with. But Messi, now, doesn’t. Barcelona are worse than anyone could have expected and it doesn’t look like getting any better. The 33-year-old will be keener than ever to extricate himself from the situation.

    The suggestion is that City have assessed the landscape. We are in a post-covid world where cashflow isn’t what it once was. We have a 33-year-old amidst the worst form of his career, with just one goal in open play so far this season. We also have that same player likely looking to match if not exceed the €100m per season he currently earns at Barcelona. Even for a club with the wealth of City, the numbers don’t add up.

    Lionel Messi’s transfer situation

    • Messi has made it clear he wants to leave, weakening his negotiating position
    • Barcelona’s finances are dire and may want to allow Messi to leave and save on his salary
    • Messi believed he could get an attractive deal leaving for free in January
    • But Man City are reassessing the expense, citing Messi’s age
    • PSG and Inter are unlikely alternatives
    • Does it mean he has to accept a huge pay cut to get his move?

    So what does he do? Messi’s dad Jorge recently branded stories of a move to PSG as ‘fake news’, while Inter’s interest while genuine would be very difficult to do from a financial perspective. What’s more, Messi’s desire to leave is attached to his ambition for another Champions League before he retires. Does moving to Inter increase that likelihood? Not by much.

    And PSG could only happen if one, or both, of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were to leave, and that isn’t looking likely. The finances of European clubs are precarious and gigantic deals and packages we saw previously aren’t readily available. It would be a one in, one out in Paris and given the age profiles of each PSG are likely to fight harder to keep their current duo than pay over the odds for a 33-year-old.

    So is Lionel Messi entering a stage of his career where he has to be realistic? He may well be forced to decrease his expectations in order to get what he wants from this predicament.

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