Bookies Price Up Lionel Messi Leaving Barcelona This Summer
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Lionel Messi’s standoff with Barcelona could yet turn in to the biggest transfer saga in the history of soccer as sportsbooks have given their odds on his future a complete overhaul this week.
Having been generously priced up at +100 to leave the Nou Camp before the end of the summer transfer window as recently as Wednesday, the odds now heavily favor Barcelona retaining the Argentine.
The odds on Messi staying at Barcelona now sit at -300, an enormous turnaround in such a short space of time, with Betfair’s price implying an 75% chance he’ll stay.
The reason for the dramatic turnaround is a little unclear, although it has been reported that Messi’s father Jorge visited Barcelona representatives on Wednesday to discuss his son’s future.
Reports emerging from Argentina claim Messi is now likely to see out the remainder of his contract and leave on June 10, 2021 – with respected journalist Martin Arevalo of TyC Sports suggesting as much.
Manchester City had been as short as -175 to sign Messi, with the Premier League side thought to be the only club able to afford him, but Pep Guardiola’s side have been handed new odds of +200 with 888Sport.
Messi’s Summer Transfer Odds
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Since news of Messi’s transfer request broke, it has become clear that only two real outcomes are possible in the immediate future – either he stays or he joins Manchester City.
Other clubs who had initially been linked with the superstar striker have either distanced themselves from a move or shown no desire to engineer what would be the biggest soccer transfer of all time.
Inter Milan and Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain were two of the clubs supposedly considering a swoop, but both are now rank outsiders at as big as +2000 and +2500 respectively to sign Messi.
It’s no surprise really, given Messi would command an unimaginable salary for almost all clubs in world soccer, with the possibility of him being available on a free transfer offering little comfort to some of the biggest teams in the game.
Can Messi Leave For Free?
Barcelona maintain Messi’s buy-out clause of €700 million must be met for any transfer to go through, while the 33-year-old and his representatives insist he can walk away from his contract during this summer transfer window.
The prospect of a legal dispute has complicated matters, which perhaps best explains the reason for the quick turnaround in the betting odds on his future.
Other superpowers in the game such as Manchester United (+3300), Liverpool (+4000) and Juventus (+4000) appear to have been priced out of a move, a measure of just how big a star Messi truly is.
His main gripe with Barcelona has been their inability to win the Champions League for five years running, and bookies don’t fancy their chances of winning it next season either with odds as long as +1600 available.