Will Lionel Messi leave Barcelona in 2021?

The future of Lionel Messi in breach of contract appears to be one of the dominant narratives of the upcoming transfer window.

Barcelona are understandably desperate for their captain to stay in Catalonia, but the wounds from the saga of a year ago are still felt by the 33-year-old, who has yet to sign up for the club he has served for. over 20 years.

A change in presidency has made it more likely that there will be another one or two seasons left, and recent reports from the continent claim he made a list of assurances he wants from Barca before signing on the dotted line.

It’s a positive development for the club’s prospects of retaining its long-standing talisman, but if the club fail to meet their demands and expectations by June, we could still see the unthinkable image of Messi. drawing on the colors of another club.

It’s unclear exactly how much Messi wants Barcelona to commit to his future at the club, and reports on his current salary vary wildly. While Goal earns him £ 500,000 per week, other outlets estimate his salary to be over £ 1million per week … although the top of that scale likely takes conditional bonuses into consideration.

Either way, Messi is Barcelona’s biggest earner – and Spain’s highest – by a considerable distance. And that should continue if he dragged on, even if he accepted a substantial pay cut.

The demands he has made at Barca, however, do not revolve around his salary. Eurosport says the captain prioritizes success on the pitch over his own potential gains, and will only stay at the club if they commit to building a competitive squad that can help them get their hands on a few trophies before hanging up your crampons. .

He also wants the club to focus more on developing their own players through La Masia … but more on that soon.

Even if you think Barcelona’s finances are bad, multiply that by the number of goals Messi has scored for them (663 and over) and you’re still not close.

They are messy. They were in trouble even before the pandemic, but financial figures released in January showed the club “on the brink of bankruptcy” in El Mundo’s words. They have debts well over € 1 billion and lost around € 100 million in 2020 alone.

Undeniably, their skyrocketing payrolls are a big part of this problem. For a sustainable football club, salaries should be around 30% of income; Barça is at a very unsustainable 74%.

Maybe as well that Messi is not looking for the money.

Messi and Laporta at Barcelona president's inauguration
Messi and Laporta at the inauguration of the new president | David Ramos / Getty Images

If Messi is to stay at Barcelona, ​​new president Laporta will have to convince him that he is in a good position to be successful in the short term and maintain him for years to come. The captain wants the club to do away with the kind of erratic transfers that have seen them rack up the biggest payrolls in all club football and focus on a combination of wise recruiting and the development of their own talent.

The imminent arrival of Eric Garcia seems to be a small step in this direction; where Messi sees the potential signings of Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay remains to be seen.

It has also been reported that Laporta wants to bring Sergio Aguero to the club with a free transfer. They believe it could help appease Messi, given the close friendship he has with his Argentina team-mate.

In terms of salary or length of contract, it is not yet clear what Barca offered Messi. But he’s likely to have to commit to a less lucrative deal than he could win elsewhere, given how desperate their finances are.

Just under a year ago, it was heavily (albeit briefly) reported that Messi could be on his way to Manchester to reunite with Pep Guardiola. That obviously didn’t happen: then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu blocked his transfer request and Messi reluctantly bowed his head and started scoring goals for fun again.

Now he’s available for pre-contract negotiations, however, the same rumors have resurfaced, with some corners of the internet tipping City to lure him for free.

But reports in Spain quickly dismissed those suggestions. With Aguero’s departure, City are believed to have shifted focus and now want a new No.9 who can lead the club for the next decade,

This brings us to our last point …

If Messi were to leave Barcelona, ​​it is likely that they would look to Erling Haaland to replace him. But one is not conditional on the other; The club have already had talks with Norwegian agent Mino Raiola about a possible summer transfer and could sign him anyway.

It’s unclear how they plan to fund this, given that Dortmund are on the hunt for € 150m for him, and he would immediately command one of the team’s highest non-Messi salaries. It could be that a potential Messi departure will make it one little more likely, given the financial space it would free up.

The flip side is that signing Haaland would show exactly the kind of ambition Messi wants to see from the club before making a decision on his future … so who knows?

City also want Haaland to replace Aguero, and Raiola also had talks with Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd this week. Fierce competition there.

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