Messi to leave Barcelona; Man City, Inter, Man United lead chase

Lionel Messi to Manchester City
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In the latest transfer news Lionel Messi to Manchester City is picking up steam as a report from the Associated Press states that the Argentine star has asked to leave the club.

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Messi has been at Barcelona since 2001, won six Ballon d’Or awards and has won every single trophy possible for the Catalan giants, but their first trophyless season since 2007-08 and turmoil behind-the-scenes has led to him wanting to leave.

Here’s more from the AP on Barcelona receiving a notice from Messi that he wants to move on: “The club confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Argentina great sent a document expressing his desire to leave.”

When it comes to Lionel Messi to Manchester City, we’ve been here many times before but this seems different and multiple reports say he is finally going to leave Barcelona.

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Messi, 33, was said to be questioning his future at Barcelona after their humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League which saw Quique Setien fired and Ronald Koeman hired. Barcelona will totally rebuild their squad and although Koeman and Barcelona president Joseph Maria Bartomeu want Messi to stay, it seems like he will finally leave the only club he’s ever played for.

It’s safe to say Barcelona are in a financial mess off the pitch due to high wages and on the pitch an ageing squad needs to be rejuvenated. Not a great combo.

Messi has a contract at the Nou Camp until next summer but he is obviously not keen on the rebuild and wants a fresh challenge. He has a release clause of over $820 million in his current contract, but it is also believed that he has a clause which says he can leave at the end of each season if he wants to.

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Various reports state Manchester United and Inter Milan are also trying to sign Messi, while ESPN claim that Man City are looking into the finances of bringing the Argentine star to the Etihad Stadium as they want to reunite him with Pep Guardiola in their quest to win the Champions League.

It is believed Messi earns $1.31 million per week in wages, $11.3 million per year in image rights and has another $17 million per year in bonuses and he also gets another $32.8 million per year in loyalty fees in his current Barcelona contract.

Surely, only Man City, Paris Saint-Germain and maybe Man United could afford him but then again, what about Financial Fair Play (FFP) and the complexity of doing a deal like this?

It’s hard to imagine Messi in any other club shirt other than a Barcelona one, but it seems like he will move on very soon and that will be the new reality.