Lionel Messi is nearing a sensational move to Manchester City that no-one thought possible… but WHEN could we see him grace the turf at the Etihad? Here’s what you need to know about the transfer dominating football
- Manchester City are hopeful of pulling off a sensational move for Lionel Messi
- Messi shocked football on Tuesday after informing Barcelona he wanted to leave
- The six-time Ballon d’Or winner could soon potentially grace the Premier League
- Sportsmail looks at the all-important matters regarding City’s move for Messi
Lionel Messi’s decision to leave Barcelona this summer has sent shockwaves throughout football and the headlines are now all about where the six-time Ballon d’Or winner might end up.
Messi is set to depart following an incredible career at the Nou Camp – scoring an astonishing 634 goals and creating 285 assists in 731 appearances for the Spanish giants.
Manchester City’s eyes lit up following Messi’s shock decision and a reunion with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad is certainly on the cards.
Here, Sportsmail answers the all-important questions regarding the transfer story that is dominating world football…
Manchester City are looking to pull off a sensational deal for Barcelona star Lionel Messi
WHEN COULD MESSI LEAVE BARCELONA?
This is currently the biggest obstacle due to the doubts surrounding the validity of Lionel Messi’s exit clause. Messi had to state his desire to leave on a free by June 10 which he didn’t this year.
However the Argentine star is arguing that the deadline should have been pushed back in line with the extension of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi and his family are insistent that he should be allowed to leave on a free. Barcelona, on the flipside, are claiming the opposite and that the deadline was June 10 regardless and that has now passed.
Messi has grown furious at Barcelona and informed them he wants to leave this summer
SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
City could push to get an international transfer certificate from FIFA which would allow them to register Messi before the transfer window shuts on October 5.
But that would not be the end of the matter as FIFA would have to decide whether City or Barcelona are in the right. That hearing may not take place until early in 2021.
WHEN COULD HE ARRIVE IN ENGLAND?
Seemingly, as soon as City can get him here after putting in the ITC though it will be a while before the entire situation is fully resolved.
If FIFA were to rule in Messi’s favour that would pretty much be the end of the matter and no financial implications for City… other than the whopping salary they would have to pay him. Messi’s current deal is worth up to £100m a year all in.
However, it could get messy if FIFA ruled against Messi. That could leave City with a hefty bill to pay out the last year of Messi’s contract. They could also be in hot water for how they tried to push through the move.
A special reunion between Messi and Pep Guardiola could be on the cards at the Etihad
HOW ELSE COULD THIS BE RESOLVED?
By Messi going to an employment tribunal to argue his case and try and get out of his contract which contains a £635m release clause or Messi agreeing a deal with Barcelona to buy himself out.
The former would not be a quick process or solved before the October 5 transfer deadline.
As neither of those situations or a drawn out legal battle would not suit any of the parties involved another option is Barcelona accept Messi really does want to leave and reach a compromise agreement with City.
Guardiola will be dreaming of working with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner again at the Etihad
WHEN COULD HE MEET UP WITH GUARDIOLA?
The two have already been in contact over the phone about moving to the Etihad, even discussing how Messi could settle in England and learn the language after almost 20 years in Spain, and there is a growing sense that he is genuinely serious about leaving Barcelona for a reunion and this is not just a power play.
How soon the two are reunited in the flesh will hinge on who makes the next move.
WHEN COULD HIS FIRST MATCH BE?
That would also depend on the above and how the situation unfolds – do City take matters into their own hands and force the issue or wait for Messi to resolve the wrangle at his end before making their move?
For the time being it appears Messi will show for the start of pre-season training at Barcelona next week. City kick off their Premier League season in just over three weeks when they travel to Wolves.
They couldn’t have him by then could they? The idea of City signing Messi has long seemed like just a pipe dream but it is not quite as far-fetched now, following developments this week.
It seemed like a pipe dream… but now a move for Messi doesn’t seem so far-fetched for City