Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona was the biggest story in football this summer, but it’s starting to look like the decision to keep him in Spain was merely delaying the inevitable.
Barcelona aren’t a stable club just now despite the recent appointment of Ronald Koeman. There are still suggestions that a new President might decide to instil a new manager next summer, so there could be plenty of upheaval yet.
A report from Cuatro has indicated that Messi still isn’t convinced that he wants to stay at the club, and it’s expected that Man City will approach him in the next few weeks with the hope of tying him down to a pre contract agreement.
If terms are agreed then he would join the Premier League club for free next summer, so that would result in an odd situation where Messi will have a few months of football where the fans know that he’s already going elsewhere.
That will only lead to increased outrage every time he has a bad game, so it wouldn’t be completely ridiculous to suggest that it would be in Barca’s interests to take a nominal fee in January and use those funds to bring in some replacements up front.
The report also indicates that Messi would still want to hold out to see what happens in the Barca Presidential elections to see what happens next year and what the future direction of the club would be.
Of course he’s still magnificent but his form has started to tail off, so Barca will still need to accept that the time will come to move on from the Argentine superstar as they look to start a new era.
They’ll probably want to do that on their own terms and seeing him play under Pep Guardiola for another club would be a dreadful look, especially if they are drawn together in Europe.