So just how much would it cost to sign him?

➤ The Ar­gen­tine may be avail­able but maths of a deal to land Messi re­main stag­ger­ing, writes Ben Rumsby

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football -

Lionel Messi’s trans­fer re­quest at Barcelona is likely to trig­ger a scram­ble for his sig­na­ture. But how many clubs would be able to af­ford some­one many con­sider the great­est player of all time? The po­ten­tial cost of sign­ing Messi breaks down as fol­lows:

Trans­fer fee

This could prove the key to Messi be­ing al­lowed to leave Barca at all. His con­tract has a buy-out clause worth a stag­ger­ing €700mil­lion (£626.7mil­lion). Strangely, the same four-year deal, signed in 2017, also con­tains a clause al­low­ing him to leave for noth­ing at the end of ev­ery sea­son un­til June of this year. In his trans­fer re­quest, Messi asked for that clause to be hon­oured now be­cause last sea­son had been ar­ti­fi­cially ex­tended due to the coro­n­avirus cri­sis. Barca are re­fus­ing to budge and are re­port­edly in­sist­ing on a world-record trans­fer fee in ex­cess of £200mil­lion.

Sign­ing-on fee

Even if Messi se­cures a free trans­fer, he will com­mand a mas­sive sign­ing-on fee. The one he se­cured when he last ex­tended his Barca con­tract ran to €133.5mil­lion over the course of the deal. Trans­fer fee or not, any club want­ing to bring in Messi would also prob­a­bly need to fork out mil­lions for him to sign.

Wages

Messi’s fixed weekly Barca wage be­fore tax is €1.37mil­lion, or €60.4mil­lion a year. To put that in con­text, the Premier League’s high­est-paid player ever, Alexis Sanchez, was on less than half that at Manch­ester United. Pay­ing Messi some­where near what he earns at the Nou Camp would there­fore shat­ter the wage struc­ture of any club.

Bonuses and other costs

Messi’s Barca con­tract in­cludes bonuses that would boost his an­nual earn­ings to any­thing up to €122.5mil­lion a sea­son if he was to help the club win ev­ery ma­jor tro­phy and be crowned World Player of the Year. He is also said to have been granted ex­clu­sive im­age rights worth mil­lions a year. In to­tal, Messi’s av­er­age an­nual in­come over the course of his con­tract is es­ti­mated to have been in ex­cess of €106mil­lion.

Who could af­ford Messi?

Po­ten­tially no one – es­pe­cially in a post-coro­n­avirus land­scape. Re­al­is­ti­cally, his po­ten­tial suit­ors would ap­pear to be lim­ited to an elite group of mega-rich su­per-clubs, in­clud­ing the likes of Manch­ester City and Paris St-Ger­main, or a team in China or the Mid­dle East for whom money is no ob­ject.

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