Last summer it appeared like the unthinkable might actually come to pass, that Lionel Messi could actually leave Barcelona. Arguably the best player ever to possess played the gorgeous game, Messi’s relationship with the club where he had been since he was 13 years old has become strained to the purpose where he considered making a switch at 32. Messi handed during a transfer request, believing he had an agreement in situ with Barcelona that might allow him to go away for free of charge if he so wished, although the Spanish giants had other ideas and held out on their demands for a £600m release clause to be paid by anyone eager to engage his services.
The argument of whether he could indeed roll in the hay on a ‘cold rainy night in Stoke’ seemed like it had been close to being tested as Manchester City, under the stewardship of Messi’s former Barcelona mentor Pep Guardiola, tried to point out their hand and engineer what had seemed the unlikeliest of transfers, one that had eye-watering figures attached thereto. That was last summer, a time when Messi, now 34, had another 12 months to run on his Barcelona deal. But now, a year on, the Barca legend is technically unemployed after his Nou Camp deal ran out.
Even together with his advancing years, there’s little doubt that Messi can still illuminate like few others can, in considerably an equivalent way that Cristiano Ronaldo continues to carry back the sands of your time. you would possibly think that there would be a clamor for his services, especially at a time when Barcelona is wrangling with financial turmoil to the purpose that they had to hunt a £430m restructuring loan to enable them to satisfy short-term debt obligations and their payroll.
Joan Laporta returned for a second spell as Barca president earlier this year, taking the baton from the unpopular Josep Maria Bartomeu, and he will know quite anyone how imperative it’s to stay Messi at Barcelona, especially because the walls appear to be crumbling around them at the present. he’s the glue that binds, the one who still gives the illusion that Barcelona remains THE place to be. Manchester City has now reassessed their needs and appearance to be eyeing cheaper, younger talents, with Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish a reported target, while Manchester United has sealed a £73m move for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. Messi, despite every club knowing that Dominion Day would see him become a free agent, wasn’t a part of the transfer strategy for Europe’s heavy hitters, Liverpool among them.
The Reds have so often been linked with Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, but the figures involved in even making that deal happen means it’s never really been feasible, a minimum of not if Jurgen Klopp didn’t want to completely pan the club’s carefully constructed wage structure. which was for a player 12 years younger than Messi who is seen because of the next generational talent. Even with no transfer fee involved, the numbers involved to entice Messi to go away behind all he has referred to as knowledgeable in Spain are astronomical. and do not be fooled into thinking that as he gets older his wage demands decrease. He knows full well what he brings, both on and off the pitch, and he knows that for what he wants there’s really just one team that will provide it to him.
Messi’s last contract earned him £123m per annum, including a £102m renewal payment for simply signing the contract and a £69m annual ‘loyalty’ fee purchased his continued service to Barca, meaning he raked in almost £500m over the length of his deal, the contract worth £494m because of extra payment for his appearances in over 60 percent of Barca games. To put those quiet numbers into perspective, breaking it right down to around £123m per annum, that’s 37.8 percent of Liverpool’s total £325m annual wage bill, a figure that places them second within the Premier League. they’re the type of numbers that might put the brakes on any ideas of a Messi arrival at Anfield, and therefore the quiet numbers that copy why Mbappe also will likely prove cost-prohibitive.
There are ways around such numbers, however, something that might be required given the likely reforms around Financial Fair Play that UEFA wants to introduce to undertake and combat the financial effects of the pandemic on football clubs across Europe and to undertake and make some element of competitive balance. Manchester City had reportedly considered the choice of him finishing his career at the town Football Group-owned NY City FC, a deal that would have seen them offset a number of that massive cost.
And while Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group do not have other clubs in their portfolio that they might do an equivalent with, they are doing have the carrot of giving athletes a slice of FSG, as has been through with LeBron James and his conversion of two percent of Liverpool into one percent of FSG, a deal that has earned him around a £40m increase on his outlay in 2011. For Messi, however, it’s hard to envisage that he signs anywhere else aside from Barcelona, albeit they’re faced with having to slash their wage bill.
So good has he been that he’s ready to write his own ticket and knows that the club can pay what’s required to stay him on board as far as is feasibly possible. “We want him to remain and Leo wants to remain, everything is on the proper track, what’s left to mapped out is that the issue of fair play and that we are within the process of finding the simplest solution for both parties,” Laporta told Spanish media outlet El Transistor. “I’d wish to be ready to announce that he’s staying put at the instant, I cannot do this because we are within the process of trying to find the simplest solution for both parties.” That solution is going to be found, and each other club that might have normally been on high alert will have known that. there’s a reason why the supply of 1 of the simplest players in history on a free transfer hasn’t caused more of a scramble.