The transfer market in club football erupted on Thursday night after FC Barcelona confirmed that Lionel Messi will not be able to sign a new contract with them due to financial and structural obstacles as per Spanish Liga regulations. While it was an end of era, it also meant the start of something new and exciting, with Messi set to play for a new club in 2021.
No club has ever even dreamt of signing Messi in recent years due to his 700 million euro release clause in the contract. But things are slightly different this transfer window with the Argentine captain being a free agent. However, there is still a major roadblock for clubs to get their dream signing i.e. Messi's salary. The 34-year-old was notably earning around €75m per season at FC Barcelona. However, he was ready to take a significant pay cut to continue with them at €20-30m per season.
This could probably be the salary cap that Messi would be hoping to get at his new club. Considering how huge the figure is, there are very few clubs who would be able to afford him. But considering the expected recovery through shirt sales and the enhanced brand value that he would bring to the club, the following clubs might be in the race to secure one of the most historic signings in club football.
Manchester United are undoubtedly one of the biggest clubs in world football and have a rich history behind their back. Being the home of Cristiano Ronaldo for so many years, it would just be incredible if they could now add Lionel Messi to the club as well. The club owners have been on a spending spree this season having already secured signings of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane. Although it is very unlikely that they will look to sign Messi, some reports suggest that the Red Devils might be able to afford Messi if they can sell Paul Pogba for a hefty amount this season.
Inter Milan is another club who might have an outside chance of securing the signing of Lionel Messi. The Italian giants could be able to free up funds for the Argentine magician by selling a few of their star players including Romelu Lukaku who is linked with a return to Chelsea. Another exciting part of this move would be that the most celebrated rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi could also resume once again, this time in Serie A.
Chelsea could be one of the surprise contenders in the race to sign Lionel Messi as they look to build a strong team going into the new season. The UEFA Champions League holders are targeting Premier League this season and Messi could be the missing piece in the puzzle. Backed by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, there is always a possibility with Chelsea who can anytime pull a rabbit out of the hat. With the Blues linked to big-money signings in the form of Romelu Lukaku or Erling Haaland, will they change their plans and shift the focus on Lionel Messi? Let's wait and watch.
Manchester City have been one of the clubs who has been closely linked with Lionel Messi for last couple of years. With Pep Guardiola as the manager, the reunion of the famous Barcelona manager-player combo has always been on the cards. However, the Man City manager recently admitted that the 100 million pound signing of Jack Grealish could have possibly closed the doors for Messi. But, with the expected departure of Bernardo Silva and few others, we can not rule the Citizens out of the race.
PSG will be the favourites to sign Lionel Messi as a free agent after his departure from FC Barcelona. Funds have never been an issue for the French club and they could be the only one who could give Messi an acceptable contract. Although Mauricio Pochettino laughed off the rumours that PSG could sell Kylian Mbappe to free up a place for Messi, one just cannot rule out this possibility with the highly-anticipated reunion of Neymar and Messi finally in line to become a reality once again.