Jamie Casey for Bookies.com

By Jamie Casey | | 3 mins

Bookies Price Up Lionel Messi Leaving Barcelona This Summer

Bookies Price Up Lionel Messi Leaving Barcelona This Summer

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Lionel Messi looks unlikely to leave Barcelona in the January transfer window with a move in the summer of 2021 looking like the easier option should he once again become disillusioned at the Camp Nou.

The Argentine great caused a major stir in August 2020 when he handed in a transfer request in the wake of Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

He subsequently performed a U-turn when it became clear he would have to take his one and only club to court in order to force a move before the current season got underway.

The whole episode eventually prompted Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign as club president, a boost for those hoping Messi stays at Barcelona, although the team have only marginally improved this season under Ronald Koeman.

Despite having only six months left on his contract – which expires on June 10, 2020 – a January transfer would be extremely costly even for the world’s richest clubs, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City thought to be monitoring Messi’s situation.

Messi’s January Transfer Odds

Messi's Next Club?Odds
Man City+350
Inter Milan+2500

Indeed, Messi’s transfer odds suggest January will come too soon for what would be the biggest transfer story in the history of soccer, with Man City given the best chance of luring him away from Barcelona this winter at +350.

That’s only a 22.2% probability and respected journalist Martin Arevalo of TyC Sports has previously suggested that a move on a free transfer at the end of his contract in the summer is a much more likely outcome, particularly as Messi will be free to speak to clubs about a summer move in January.

Either way, City appear to be Messi’s most likely next club, with PSG second in the pecking order – they’re unlikely to sign him in January at +600 though, a 14.3% probability.

Inter Milan seem to be the only other club in a financial position to afford Messi, but given the competition from City and PSG the Serie A side are rank outsiders at +2500 (3.8% chance).

All that said, the latest indication is that Messi is in fact happy at Barcelona once again having had time to reflect on the pain of last season’s Champions League failure.

"It's true that I had a very bad time in the summer," the 33-year-old told Spanish television channel La Sexta this month. "But today I'm fine and I feel like fighting seriously for everything that lies ahead, [I'm] excited.

"I know that the club is going through a difficult time, at club level and everything that surrounds Barcelona, but I'm looking forward to it."

So, could we see Messi stay at Barcelona for the remainder of his career or will he cut a forlorn figure once again should the Catalan club fail to win a sixth European Cup? The world will be watching.