Reports: Barcelona to be offered €400 million to let Lionel Messi leave
Messi can leave for free next summer
What's the story?
Manchester City are preparing a massive €400 million bid for Lionel Messi, according to a report in Spanish news outlet, AS. The Barcelona superstar's contract situation has become a millstone around the Catalan giants neck, with an official announcement of his renewal yet to be made despite claims that the deal has been signed already. Pep Guardiola remains desperate to bring Messi to Manchester City, and 'serious conversations' have taken place over the Argentinian's future. The Premier League giants are hopeful that Barcelona will cash in on Messi before his contract runs out and he is able to leave for free.
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In case you didn't know...
Barcelona announced that they had reached an agreement with Lionel Messi on July 5 of this year, but curiously enough, no official announcement has been made. Initially, club President Josep Maria Bartomeu claimed that the reason for the delay was Messi's unavailability in pre-season and that a hectic start to the 2017/18 season meant there was no time for the club to arrange for a photo-shoot that would accompany the announcement.
The heart of the matter
However, as the season has progressed it has become increasingly clear that the player has doubts about confirming the deal, with reports in Spain claiming that what seemed like a formality a few months ago has become a stumbling block as the Argentine is reluctant to put a signature on a new four-year deal.
Lionel Messi will be free to talk to any club in the world in January, as his contract runs out on June 30th, 2018. Manchester City could conceivably sign the Argentinian for free in the summer, but remain concerned that a trophy-winning season with Barcelona would change Messi's mind.
Thus, the Premier League side are preparing a massive financial package for Barcelona in January itself, to take advantage of the club's nervousness over Messi's future. However, Messi is reportedly happy with his off-pitch life in Barcelona, as newly-wedded wife Antonella and himself are quite settled in the Catalan capital.
If Messi were to move in January, it would comfortably shatter the world transfer record currently held by Neymar's €222 million move to PSG, but aside from the monetary terms, it would represent a huge power shift in modern football. That Barcelona have even let things progress to this situation is shocking, and the club is in need of severe introspection.