Manchester United are plotting an outlandish move for Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, according to recent reports.
Spanish outlet Marketing Deportivo, via Metro and the Manchester Evening News, claim that both Manchester sides are competing to sign Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, with the Argentine’s contract due to expire in the summer of 2018.
The report claims that United’s apparel sponsors, Adidas, who have produced United’s shirts since 2015, are concerned by the club’s poor performances, firstly under Louis van Gaal and now under his successor Jose Mourinho, and the German company are worried that United’s lack of success could ultimately damage their own brand.
With the sportswear manufacturers worried, Adidas are reportedly willing to help facilitate an Old Trafford move for five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, with the transfer expected to cost well over the £100 million mark, though arch cross-city rivals, Manchester City, would be prepared to put a £200 million package together to sign the 29-year-old.
Meanwhile, Spanish football pundit Guillem Balagué, when asked this week by Sky Sports about a Messi move, had this to say on the matter:
“I don’t think so. After El Classico in December, Messi, his dad Jorge, and Barcelona will meet up. Barca want to make sure he’s happy with the finances and everything else. It’s the priority for Messi to stay, but there are things that have to be sorted.
“Firstly, the wages – seeing the strong squad they have, Barcelona must renew the key players and Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta are likely to be next.
“Secondly, there is the tax case, where there will be an appeal in the summer. We will have to see what the situation with that is, and how that affects both Messi and his dad personally.
“Thirdly, Messi might want to let the contract run out but Barcelona are convinced that will not happen. I have said in the past that it has entered his mind to leave Barcelona, but that doesn’t mean he will. We are in the same position. If it gets to a day when he has to say yes or no, I think he will stay at Barcelona.”
Messi has spent the last 15 years at Barcelona, enjoying a stellar career, which has seen the forward score an incredible 480 goals for the Catalan giants, while winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies along the way.
With Messi arguably Barcelona’s best ever player, and potentially the greatest in the history of the game, it’s expected that the Catalonians will attempt to extend his contract, however it appears both Manchester sides will provide some stiff competition.
Steven Parkhill, Pundit Arena