Circulating the corners of the internet lately is the notion that Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona for a move to join his beloved old boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. It so happens the Argentinian marvel is also friends with City CEO Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain. This bit of gossip, of course, sets up perfectly a Messi-Guardiola reunion at the Etihad, or so the story goes. And in other news, the lunar landing was fake and both Elvis and Bigfoot were sighted leaving a popular Los Angeles nightclub together — no confirmation if the two are an “item” as of yet. In all seriousness, there is an appeal in having the “chosen one” with his old mentor, the golden goose to match the golden gander, I suppose. I’m sorry; I just can’t get behind it because I just can’t believe it. There is little to verify this innuendo as anything more than the shadowy corners of the internet whispering sweet footballing nothings into our ears. Take, for example, the originator of this rumor about some of the Barca powers that be wanting Messi gone is former president Joan Laporta. The keyword is former here. Why would Laporta still be in the know about club politics now? Even if Barca executives are dissatisfied with Messi, for whatever reason — I can’t concoct one, maybe except his tax evasion problems, but really? — doesn’t the prestige, riches and all the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey titles he’s accumulated on their behalf make up for it? Surely, this trade offsets any issues, especially considering Messi is a very low-key megastar. Rather than be disgruntled, this is cause to be gruntled. Why would anyone just want to give away arguably the best player in like ever? It makes no sense. Secondly, I’m learning not to trust publications like the Daily Express for football transfer news. Mind you, this last week there were rumors in similar places about Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre Emerick-Aubamayang coming to the Etihad as well. These were more plausible and financially feasible for City, but they again were overly optimistic about the possible landing of the Gabonese blur, who seems content with the Bundesliga side at least for now. Speaking of financially feasible, how is City exactly going to afford Messi? Whatever price tag Messi has, it’s over £100 million, probably increasingly more so. What kind of fire sale is Guardiola and company going to run to get him when Toni Kroos’ high wages squashed City’s interest in the German? Moreover, the club is in lengthy negotiations haggling over players like John Stones, Leroy Sané and Gabriel Jesus, which suggests City’s front office is concerned with how much money it spends. Another way to put it, why would someone go buy a Ferrari when they’re fighting over pennies for midsize luxury cars? Messi also reportedly extended his contract past 2018. Again, there’s not much evidence to show why this transfer of the century would suddenly go down.
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