Where will Lionel Messi end up? is the question of the morning.
Lionel Messi’s Barcelona contract expired at the end of June.
Upon that expiry he was never officially released by the club and a new contract was expected to be signed after many months of negotiations.
The deal was done. Agreed. But then Barcelona went to La Liga to register their man and they were told they were unable to do so.
Due to La Liga’s financial fair play regulations, Barcelona had to reduce their wage bill by a reported £173million before they could sign any new players.
As Messi’s contract had expired, La Liga saw his signing as a “new signing” as he was not continuously under contract with Barcelona.
The “gap in employment” meant that Barcelona had allowed his registration to expire when his contract expired and now had to reregister him. This was denied.
Barcelona have no chance of reducing their wage bill enough to enable themselves to resign Messi, which leads us to the outcome that Messi has now left Barcelona.
On a side note, you have to wonder what Sergio Aguero thinks having left Manchester City to play alongside his lifelong friend Messi at Barcelona.
So where will Messi end up? We think it will likely be Manchester City.
The obvious link is with Pep Guardiola and Manchester City.
Since losing Aguero, City are still in search of a new striker. Reports are that Harry Kane is agitating for a move. But could a free transfer for Lionel Messi actually make more sense?
The Messi deal would be easier to get over the line as Manchester City would not have to deal with Daniel Levy and Tottenham.
Financially, signing Messi would also be no different to Harry Kane.
Harry Kane will cost Manchester City around £150million in transfer fees. He would expect to earn in the region of £400,000 a week.
If he joined Man City on a 4 year deal, the total cost for Harry Kane would be £233.2million. Or £58.3million over 4 years.
Instead of signing Kane, Manchester City could pay Lionel Messi £58.3million a year – not to dissimilar to his current Barcelona contract.
So we have Kane and Messi costing Manchester City the same. But along with Messi comes millions of new fans and the commercial endorsements he brings.
Ignore “shirt sales” as that is a myth as clubs get a fixed sum for selling the rights to their shirts. But Man City would expect a flood of other commercial deals to come through the door with Messi in their squad – reports are 30% of Barcelona’s commercial income is linked to Messi.
It is also the fans that Messi brings with him.
Whilst Manchester City have been England’s most successful club in the last decade, they still lag behind Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea when it comes to global support.
When you spread that across Europe, they have Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid also ahead of them.
Messi will change all of that and overnight Manchester City will become one of the biggest globally followed teams in the world.
Note I say “followed” and not “supported”.
Will those fans who begin following Man City due to Messi remain when he leaves? That is a debate. But Man City owners will be hopeful that they do.
The Messi signing really would transform Man City’s global support.
So you have a deal that is easy to make, is financially viable, and progresses Man City as a global brand.
The only question left to ask if “if Man City sign Messi, what happens with Harry Kane”.
Have a good weekend