Lionel Messi is out of work. Don’t worry: he’ll be back at Barcelona next season, or at least he should be, and he’ll be OK. Now the question is: will they? And who will play alongside him if he plays at the Camp Nou, if they are able to cut costs and raise the funds that they desperately need to balance the books and allow him to re-sign and begin an 18th season at the club where he is now more than ever their everything, if they can somehow, somewhere find over €100 million and fast?
Until then, Messi is a free agent, having been out of contract for 20 days and formally unattached to Barcelona for the first time since joining at the age of 13. July 1 has passed; this is no longer a renewal, but a signing, and if the season began tomorrow, Barcelona would be unable to register him due to the league’s pay ceiling. Sergio Agüero, Eric Garca, and Memphis Depay are among their other newcomers, all of whom arrived on free transfers, much as Gini Wijnaldum was slated to do before opting for Paris Saint-Germain. They also have Emerson Royal, who was brought back from Betis, and two or three additional players to whom they still aspire.
Negotiations with Messi took longer than expected because a viable financial formula had to be discovered – guidance from the league and the tax authorities was sought – and, while a contract is now in place, substantial issues still need to be resolved before it can be put into practice. In other words, they need to move men out before moving men in.
Source: The Guardian