Lionel Messi has decided not to continue at Barcelona and a key factor in his decision is said to be the club losing out to Tottenham in the race to sign his Argentina teammate
Lionel Messi: Possible PSG move discussed by Julien Laurens
The news that Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona has sent shockwaves through the world of football.
The 34-year-old has been out of contract at the Camp Nou since the beginning of July but there had been a significant expectation that he would agree a new long-term deal at the club.
On Thursday, Barca confirmed the bombshell news that Messi would no longer be continuing at the club following an hour of intense speculation that talks had broken down between the parties.
It was a situation that exploded in a relatively short period of time, following Messi’s return to the Catalan capital and meeting with senior club officials on Wednesday.
The pattern of reporting around the situation points to the fact that Messi was prepared to take a significant wage cut – up to 50 percent – to see out the remainder of his career at the Blaugrana, but something has recently changed his mind.
A report from Catalan media outlet Mundo Deportivo claims that the key event which triggered the Argentine superstar’s change of heart was Tottenham beating Barca to the signing of his international teammate Cristian Romero.
The central defender is poised to join the North London club in a fee worth in the region of €50million from Atalanta.
The report claims that Messi’s demand to Barcelona was that they sign the central defender, who played a key role in helping his nation land this summer’s Copa America title – as they edged out Brazil 1-0 in the showpiece last month.
It is claimed that the Catalan club did indeed make an attempt to sign Romero, offering Atalanta €40million up front plus a further €10million in add-ons – which would have equalled the offer from Spurs but with less guaranteed upfront.
For which club will Lionel Messi be playing next season? Comment below
The truth behind this is unclear – Barca are unable to register Messi’s new contract nor any of their four summer signings to date because they are operating far in excess of their wage budget, which is imposed by La Liga.
It seems unfeasible that Barca – who have limited their summer signings to three free agents and a player whom they already co-owned – would be in a position to sanction such an outlay on a central defender.
After all, Eric Garcia was one of those arrivals and he joins a growing list of central defenders at the club: Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and Samuel Umtiti.
Messi is believed to hold influence over the club’s transfer – the signing of Sergio Aguero, his roommate on international duty with Argentina, may not be a coincidence.
It is also suggested in a report in the Financial Times that Barca pretended to pursue the re-signing of Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar throughout the summer of 2019 solely to placate Messi, who believed a deal would be possible – yet the reality was that the club could not afford the deal.
Messi’s rating of Romero is clearly incredibly high and is an indicator of the standard of player which Spurs appear set to add to their squad ahead of the new season.
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