Lionel Messi Transfer Odds: Where Will the Barcelona Legend End Up?

Posted on: August 27, 2020, 05:24h. 

Last updated on: August 27, 2020, 05:34h.

Lionel Messi appears increasingly likely to leave Barcelona and end up at another top European soccer club next season. Now, sportsbooks are laying odds on exactly where the Argentinian forward will land next.

Lionel Messi Barcelona Man City
Lionel Messi reacts after Bayern Munich scores a second goal during Barcelona’s 8-2 loss in a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal in Lisbon on Aug. 14, 2020. (Image: Manu Fernandez/AFP)

Paddy Power currently sees Messi as equally likely to stay at Barcelona or to sign with Manchester City, posting -120 odds for both options.

Man City Most Likely to Land Messi

Those are the two possibilities gaining the most traction among bettors and soccer media. Other clubs like Inter Milan (+1200), PSG (+1400), and Manchester United (+2000) are seen as far less likely destinations for Messi.

The drama began on Tuesday, when reports surfaced that Messi had informed Barcelona of his intention to leave. He also argued that he should be able to go on a free transfer based on a clause in his contract. However, Barcelona disagreed, noting that the language specified that he needed to inform the team of his intention to leave in June.

While Messi argues that the COVID-19 pandemic should change these time lines, it’s unclear which side is in the right. Most likely, another club would negotiate with Barcelona to reduce Messi’s €700 million release clause to a more reasonable number, rather than wait for any legal issues to play out.

Man City sits at the top of the list of interested teams. The English club calculates that it can afford to sign Messi without violating Financial Fair Play rules. It even envisions a future in which Messi plays for it for a few years, then ends its career with New York City FC of Major League Soccer, another club owned by the City Football Group.

On Wednesday, Spanish newspaper Sport reported that City might even trade up to three players back to Barcelona in exchange for Messi, including Gabriel Jesus. Such a deal would cause a sensation in the soccer world, where trades of any kind are rare, and especially so for superstar players.

Spanish journalist Miquel Balzquez even reported this week that Barcelona had already determined that Messi won’t be back, and that an official announcement would come through the club’s social media channels in the next few days.

Barcelona Clinging to Hope of Retaining Star

But there are signs that Barcelona isn’t giving up just yet. Sporting director Ramon Planes told reporters that the Spanish club still planned on having Messi with the team next year.

As we have said many times, we’re still thinking of Messi as a Barca player,” Planes told reporters. “The marriage between Messi and Barca has given both parties a lot. It has given the fans a huge amount of joy, and we have to fight for that relationship to continue. Internally, we’re working hard to convince Messi to stay. We want to find the best solution for Barca and for Messi.”

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu responded to supporter protests by offering to resign if it would keep Messi from leaving, according to a TV3 report.