While Lionel Messi might be looking to leave Barcelona, the problem was always going to be finding a team who could pay his wages without falling foul of financial fair play regulations.
A move to Man City makes the most sense because of their financial backing and the presence of Pep Guardiola in the dugout, while this latest report has offered an interesting way for them to pay Messi:
Manchester City would be ready to pay 500m€ after taxes to Messi in 5 years!
Messi would earn 50m€ per year + according to paper Sport a staggering 250m€ bonus after 3 years moving to New York City in last 2 years
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) August 30, 2020
The actual amounts involved are eye-watering and you have to think they won’t be true, but the marketing power of Messi would be huge in America so the investment might be worth it.
Tancredi Palmeri is usually a reasonable source on transfer matters so perhaps there is some legitimacy to this, while FFP is a UEFA rule so MLS clubs won’t come under their jurisdiction.
There’s obviously going to be a lot more to this and La Liga recently came out to confirm that Messi was still under contract with Barca and his €700m release clause is valid, so City would need to agree a fee with Barca too.
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If we presume that this is true and actually happens, it will truly make a mockery of the FFP system and surely lead to other clubs forming similar agreements with non European teams, but FFP was only there to protect the elite teams so it won’t be a great loss if it disappears.
It would also lead to an interesting Frank Lampard type situation if Messi is still playing at an elite level in three years and Man City want to keep him, but there’s a lot of things to overcome before it’s worth worrying about that.