Lionel Messi

It is turning to be the biggest transfer saga ever.

Lionel Messi continues to find a way out of Barcelona after his father and agent’s crunch talks with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu

Indeed, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner wishes to activate a clause in his contract that would terminate the deal and see him leave for free, however, La Liga have unsurprisingly backed Barcelona’s stance on his €700million buyout clause being activated.

Since sending shockwaves around Barcelona and the whole world with his transfer request following their humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinal. Barcelona are going through seismic changes in the fallout, with Quique Setién since being replaced by Ronald Koeman and sporting director Eric Abidal stepping down from his role.

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Messi is discontent with the shambolic decision-making at the club in recent years, furious in his criticism of their decline on and off the pitch. Now the highest goalscorer in Barcelona history with 634 goals from 731 games has had enough, he has refused to resume training as he no longer considers himself a Barcelona player, after spending his whole career in Catalunya. The Argentine has lifted several individual and collective silverware including 10 Ligas and four Champions League crowns.

To make matters worse, the club’s third-greatest goalscorer, Luis Suárez, is also being unceremoniously displaced by the club amidst a massive clear-out of players with many of the veteran first-team squad put up for sale.

After lengthy talks on Wednesday, the Standoff continues between Messi and Barcelona. The player prefers to reunite with Pep Guardiola at Man City, with his father admitting it would be ‘‘difficult to stay’’ in Barcelona. Beleaguered president Bartomeu is under massive pressure to reach an amicable agreement, although one which is set to favour the player nevertheless.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi remains unwilling to consider a U-turn to stay at Barcelona. (UEFA via Getty Images)

Then there’s the small matter of which teams can take the huge outlay on Messi especially in this pandemic-ridden financial climate. 

No doubt, the signing of easily the best player in history will topple several records in commercial revenue and shirt sales, not to talk of the impact on the most-watched football league in the world if he moves to City. However, a transfer fee of no less than €100million, on top of mammoth wages of around €70million a year could turn out to be a poor piece of business over more-or-less three years.

A Guardiola-Messi reunion will possibly reincarnate the years of domination and outstanding success in Barcelona between 2008 to 2012, specifically to win another much-coveted Champions League title for both men. In truth, Man City’s primary target is to solidify the defence which desperately lacked leadership without the departed Vincent Kompany and injured Aymeric Laporte, conceding a limp Premier League title defence to Liverpool in 2019/20.

Nathan Ake has been acquired whilst they continue to negotiate a deal for Kalidou Koulibaly to inject quality and experience to a defence that is fundamental in Guardiola’s style of play. Ferran Torres has replaced Leroy Sané, and the addition of Messi will undoubtedly lead City to so many glorious days, especially a linkup with Kevin De Bruyne.

On the flip side, a deal for Messi would most likely see some players go the other way, reportedly Eric Garcia, Gabriel Jesus, and Bernardo Silva. Relinquishing the latter two for a 33-year-old on mammoth wages just looks like an ill-advised piece of business, despite all its glamour.

Over a week after first contacting Barcelona of his intention to leave via Burofax, the Messi saga continues to dominate headlines, and it remains as unclear as it has ever been.


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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