The idea of Lionel Messi ever leaving Barcelona still feels like an alien concept at this stage. Recent reports suggest the Argentine won’t enter into contract negotiations, fuelling rumours that he will leave. Messi leaving Catalonia feels completely foreign, like it couldn’t – and shouldn’t – ever happen. Barca without Messi is a very strange prospect.
Part of that is the sheer length of time that he’s been with the club: 16 years. Messi left for Spain when he was 13. Now 29, he has bagged a phenomenal 472 goals in 547 games for his club in all competitions since his debut in 2004/05.
Of course, that ongoing unwillingness to enter into negotiations over a new deal, combined with the recent convictions against him and his father for tax fraud, offers the possibility of Messi leaving Barca. If that were to happen, could Old Trafford be a possible destination?
Manchester United would certainly rush to get his signature on a gigantic deal, for sure. They can afford him, and his status and brand in football would earn the club millions. The benefits to bringing Messi to North West England are clear, even if it’s likely that the Argentine would be less than enamoured with the famous weather in this part of the world, but would there be any potential downsides to signing one of football’s greatest players?
Messi to United? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
There are, but relatively small ones in all honesty.
Firstly, it could impact on the development of some of the club’s youngsters, something that United prides itself on. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford exploded onto the scene last season and the presence of Messi, who would instantly be an undroppable member of any United team, limits their opportunities.
The negative press over his conviction continues to haunt Messi and won’t be welcomed by the club either. It will certainly cause United’s PR department a headache or two were he to join. He was convicted of evading €4.1m in taxes via offshore companies, and the incident left a sour taste with the country’s authorities.
There’s the slightly issue of Messi’s age to consider too. Still at his peak of his powers at 29, he has played top-flight football every week for well over a decade. It could mean Messi’s powers start to wane earlier than expected.
But of course, these are middling concerns if they’re even concerns at all. If Lionel Messi wishes to come to your football club, there’s only one answer; yes.