Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona this summer but which club will the Argentina international end up at? Manchester City, PSG and Manchester United have all been linked and Express Sport reporters have had their say in our latest Big Debate.
Matthew Dunn – PSG
Messi should go to PSG… but I fear his preference may be a final test in the Premier League. 10 years ago that would have been a thrilling prospect – just to see the embarrassment on the faces of those that claim that the most skilful and footballing brain that ever played the game couldn’t ‘do it’ in the rough and tumble of the English game.
Now, though, in an age dominated by sports scientists, the team dynamic has to be bigger than the individual. If Messi can no longer carry Barcelona with his prodigious talent, why should we expect him to be able to do it for anybody else?
Having recently spoken to Yaya Toure about Messi coming to England, he pointed out that it would take a manager like Pep Guardiola who really knows him to be able to work around the fact Messi’s lack of defensive impact unbalances the team. But to do that – and abandon your team ethos – you would want the project to last more than a season or two.
Better then he head for Paris where he can be a flat-track bully with the rest of his richly-assembled cohorts and save the magic for those Champions League nights. There could yet be one more winners’ medal up for grabs.
He will get nothing but ‘told you sos’ on the proverbial wet night in Burnley. Manchester City and Manchester United are the only clubs who could probably afford them and I fear that he will ultimately do neither of them any favours.
Lionel Messi will quit Barcelona this summer with Premier League clubs linked
Lewis Winter – Manchester United
Lionel Messi should come to the Premier League and Manchester United must seize the chance of a lifetime to sign arguably the greatest player we have seen.
United have mainly focused on bringing in young, British talent since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permanent appointment last year.
However, when a player of this quality comes available, it is an opportunity that cannot be passed up.
The Red Devils are yet to spend this summer and fans are aggrieved at the club’s lack of business but signing Messi would be the best possible way to turn supporters’ opinions around.
The deal would cost an absolute fortune and a move for Jadon Sancho would have to wait, but imagine how many United shirts with Messi’s name on would be sold around the world within minutes of him putting pen to paper.
Messi may see the improvements at United in recent months and feel he could be the missing link in taking the club back to the top.
Ben Pringle – Manchester City
While the idea of Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona still seems completely unnatural, Manchester City is surely the Argentine’s most likely destination if he does depart the Nou Camp.
A reunion with former manager Pep Guardiola, who he spent four years playing under between 2008-2012, would offer some welcome familiarity for the 33-year-old.
And the pair would have a tantalising opportunity to replicate their past success, having won three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies together.
City are a long way short of that all-conquering Barcelona side, particularly with a weak defence, but the arrival of Messi could reinvigorate the club and attract several more vital signings who can help bridge the gap to Liverpool and mount a consistent challenge on the European stage.
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Gideon Brooks – PSG, LA or Florida
Ask any fan of any Premier League side and they would give you a short, positive answer to whether their club should be putting in calls to Lionel Messi’s people.
But it is a case of being careful what you wish for because there would be a significant amount of baggage which comes with signing the biggest name in world football.
Messi is still great but he is not the great he was.
He would need others to do his running for him. He might not play every game but he would want to play the biggest of the lot. He would need Champions League football.
I don’t think the 2020-21 vintage fits into either Liverpool, City or United on or off the pitch and Chelsea appear to have done their spending this window.
If he does leave for the Premier League United is the most likely destination but I don’t think it is likely. PSG or MLS soccer is a better bet.
James Benson – Newell’s Old Boys
Seeing Lionel Messi renew his blockbuster rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo in Serie A is a tantalising prospect but it feels as though this is where the Argentine’s European odyssey should end.
Messi is Barcelona through and through, so he won’t fancy the idea of potentially facing them if he pitches up at Inter Milan or another team on this side of the Atlantic.
The 33-year-old is just too good to drift off to China, the USA or the Middle East and he ought to head back to where it all began before Barca plucked him away from his homeland – Newell’s Old Boys.
Messi and his wife, Antonella, will probably have reservations about uprooting their young sons to return to their home city of Rosario.
But the timing might just be right for the local hero to make a comeback and help Newell’s become champions of Argentina for the first time since 2013.
Barcelona won’t make it easy for Messi to leave for a European rival so this could be the easiest way to ensure an amicable split can happen.
Konstantinos Lianos – Manchester City
If Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona then the Premier League is undoubtedly the last major mountain left to conquer in his illustrious career at a club level – time to silence the doubters who’ve been questioning whether he can do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke.
However, Messi would have to go for the right club and I would therefore suggest a long-overdue reunion with his former Barca boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Guardiola knows the Argentina international better than any other manager in the world as their four-year collaboration at the Nou Camp played a pivotal role in the star forward’s incredible rise to legendary status.
The transition to English football, along with its demanding schedule and daunting weather, will be difficult at first but as long as City make sure to place the right people around Messi then it shouldn’t take long for him to adjust.
The Citizens also have a perfectly capable roster to support the Argentine on the pitch, such as Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero.
Messi is 33 years old, if he indeed leaves Barcelona then a move to the Premier League is now or never.
Jamie Anderson – Manchester City
No originality in my prediction whatsoever. Lionel Messi will be joining Manchester City if he’s able to terminate his contract with Barcelona.
The Argentine superstar won three consecutive La Liga titles and the Champions League twice in three years during Pep Guardiola’s tenure as Barcelona manager.
He also secured four of his six Ballon d’Or awards during that period and nostalgia is a very strong thing indeed.
The Citizens have pretty-much the strongest squad in world football and will challenge for silverware on a regular basis.
Messi, 33, clearly wants to be surrounded by the best players and coached by a manager who understands him. It’s a no-brainer and I very much doubt that Financial Fair Play will be a problem…