Bookies Price Up Lionel Messi Leaving Barcelona This Summer
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Paris Saint-Germain are now favorites to sign Lionel Messi in the summer transfer window after leapfrogging Manchester City in the pecking order.
The French champions ended Barcelona’s Champions League hopes for this season by dumping them out at the last 16 stage on Wednesday, possibly ending Messi's hopes of ever lifting the trophy for the Catalan club again.
Argentine great Messi caused a major stir last August when he handed in a transfer request in the wake of Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the 2019/20 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, which was a boost for those hoping Messi stays at Barcelona, although the team have only marginally improved this season.
They trail leaders Atletico Madrid in La Liga but remain in the title hunt, though their exit at the last 16 stage of the Champions League could be the final nail in the coffin for Messi’s time at the club.
Even though he’s set to be available on a free transfer when his contract expires on June 10, signing Messi would be extremely costly even for the world’s richest clubs, with PSG and Manchester City thought to be monitoring his situation.
Messi’s Summer Transfer Odds
|Messi's Next Club?||Odds|
|Any MLS Side||+900|
Indeed, Messi’s transfer odds suggest PSG are frontrunners in what would be the biggest transfer story in the history of soccer, with Man City given the second best chance of luring him away from Barcelona at +300.
Pep Guardiola’s City were previously priced up as -175 favorites but PSG’s new-found pedigree in the Champions League, the biggest stage of all in club soccer, appears to be giving them a slight edge over the Premier League side.
Inter Milan seem to be the only other club in a financial position to afford Messi, but given the competition from PSG and City the Serie A leaders are rank outsiders at +1600 (5.9% chance).
Interestingly, Messi has admitted in the past that he has dreamed of finishing his career in America and for that reason it’s a +900 chance for him to line out for any MLS side after September 3, when the European transfer window closes.
New Barcelona president Joan Laporta has vowed to convince Messi to stay and sign a new deal, but it could just be a ploy to get fans on his side – the reality of the situation is that Barca can ill-afford to keep him on their books given the current state of their financial affairs.
That said, bookmaker Paddy Power go -188 on Messi to still be at Barcelona next season. Could we see him stay at Camp Nou on a reduced wage or will their failure to win a sixth European Cup be the last straw? The world will be watching.