It seems almost ridiculous to imagine writing that the greatest player in the history of football joining your closest challengers for the league next season is the best thing that could happen to your club yet in this particular instance it certainly is the case
Manchester City have been deemed as the ‘top candidate‘ to land six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi from Barcelona amid the Argentine’s determination to force an exit away from the Camp Nou.
BBC Sport report that Messi has handed in a transfer request and is seeking to have his contract cancelled.
Messi, 33, is perhaps the greatest footballer we have ever seen and the prospect of him coming to the Premier League is not just an exciting one but something that can work in Liverpool’s favour next season.
The underdog status
Despite an 18-point chasm between the two teams last season, within seconds of Messi’s reported arrival at the Etihad Stadium, all of the media attention will be on Pep Guardiola’s team to cruise to the title next season.
Liverpool in effect will go straight back under the radar into a position they utilised to their advantage last season.
City with Messi will be lauded and paraded as overwhelming favourites despite Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s procession to a 19th league title last season.
Having the best player in the history of the game also opposes some immediate complications.
For one, it will completely derail the club’s wage structure given that Messi’s current contract sees him take home £1 million per week at Barcelona, The Times reported.
To match this would require a quite stupendous outlay even for Manchester City.
Kevin de Bruyne is currently City’s top earner with a £350,000-a-week pay packet – according to Spotrac – yet Messi’s wages would see him take home almost three times that amount.
Huge financial risks
It’s hard to imagine this will sit well with the City players given the club are prepared to completely overhaul their financial structure to bring a 33-year-old player to the club.
Messi is not any ageing star, of course. Even this season he scored 31 goals and provided 26 assists. Most importantly, however, he is not a guaranteed success as an overwhelmed Barcelona recently discovered.
The Argentina captain’s arrival will also restrict transfer activity next season for City and if this so scripted ‘Last Dance’ doesn’t go to plan then Guardiola will be left without a plan b.
Where a move could backfire would be if Messi stayed at the Etihad for 1-2 years, did not win anything, and the club’s resources were left in ruins.
Not only does it work to Liverpool’s advantage from a financial sense but it will also paper over the reality that a lack of attacking supremacy wasn’t the determining factor behind City surrendering their title to Liverpool last season.
Signing Messi will not solve City’s defensive inefficiencies as Barcelona will reassure following their 8-2 demolition job at the hands of Bayern Munich last month.
City were miles off the pace last season because of their shortcomings at the back and it proved costly both domestically as well as in Europe. Even the addition of the greatest player ever to walk this earth will not solve them from this reality.
Messi may yet stay if the Barcelona board resign. Fans have been outside the Camp Nou on a daily basis pleading for Messi to stay and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign.
Indeed, if Man City were to sign Messi it would of course instantly make them a better team.
But, as Juventus have found out with Cristiano Ronaldo and PSG with Neymar, signing greatness is only one step of the journey and does not guarantee success.
- Four signings that could make Liverpool unbeatable next season
- Billy Koumetio shows why Liverpool debut could be realistic in 20/21
- Trent Alexander-Arnold pictured in training after missing Liverpool pre-season
- Liverpool linked with interest in Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer
- Liverpool linked with interest in RB Salzburg striker Patson Daka
- Donny van de Beek’s Man United deal will not effect Liverpool’s Thiago stance
- Virgil van Dijk gives his opinion on reported Man United Van de Beek deal
- Reaction to reports that Sadio Mane could leave Liverpool
- Liverpool confirm signing of teenage trio among nine first-year scholars