Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona after all but that might halt Liverpool’s transfer plan. The Argentine could stop the merry-go-round.

In an exclusive, Goal have revealed that Messi will remain at Barcelona this season. It’s a bombshell for football, really, as everyone expected his long-term stay to end and that the world’s best player would head elsewhere.

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-BAYERN MUNICH

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (C) challenges Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara (R) and Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 14, 2020. (Photo by Rafael Marchante / POOL / AFP) (Photo by RAFAEL MARCHANTE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In short, Barcelona just aren’t letting him go. Messi believed he had an agreement to leave but it turns out that wasn’t the case. So it’s less that he’s staying and more that he’s stuck.

And that may not be good for Liverpool.

Putting the brakes on

Now, it’s definitely nice that he isn’t joining Manchester City. Although, Eurosport claims that it’s merely postponing that move for a year.

But it could end Liverpool’s hopes of getting Thiago. How? Because we think this might put Barcelona off moving for Gini Wijnaldum.

We’ll start with Wijnaldum.

Barcelona reportedly want the midfielder who is, importantly, out of contract in a year. That means Liverpool are far more open to selling than usual, while the Catalonians have a decision to make.

Do they pay some cash now and get him in early? Or do they wait a year and get him for free?

They recently let Ivan Rakitic move back to Sevilla which made us more confident that they’d go for Wijnaldum now. But this Messi business throws that back up into the air.

 

Der Spiegel claimed in 2018 that Messi earns a staggering £63m a season until July 2021. That’s more than anyone else in the game and is means that Barcelona will have to pay it again over the next 12 months.

Suddenly, paying a fee for Wijnaldum appears a little less possible. If Messi left, there’s an extra £63m, after all. But him staying keeps the purse strings tight.

Especially as that contract ends when Wijnaldum’s does. If Messi disappeared in a year, Wijnaldum can move to the club for nothing, really. His wages won’t even come close to filling the gap Messi would leave.

But unfortunately, that alters Liverpool’s plans.

The Thiago pursuit

Liverpool want Thiago and it’s reported pretty much everywhere. This from ESPN lays out the situation nicely, though. Liverpool want the player but have too many first-team midfielders.

That problem fixes itself if Barcelona buy Wijnaldum but if they don’t, Liverpool aren’t sure they can justify Thiago’s £30m fee.

Thus Messi staying really could end the Reds’ hopes of securing their biggest transfer of the summer.

Arsenal v Liverpool - FA Community Shield

(Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Now, we could be completely wrong on this one, of course. But what’s certain is that Barcelona do not have as much money if Messi is staying. Considerably less, in fact.

And that makes this particular transfer merry-go-round slow down quite a bit.

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