Could Lionel Messi Leave Barca For The Premier League?

Superstar Lionel Messi is the victim of a rumor that has everyone in La Liga and Premier League talking.

According to reports in the Spanish papers, Manchester City is preparing a £165 million (approximately $276 million) bid to take the Argentine striker from the Spanish team, which would make the £80 million Real Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo look like child’s play.

If the report from El Confidencial via Bleacher Report is correct, Messi could become the best paid player in the world at £25 million per year:

El Confidencial have said City will attempt to take advantage of Messi’s unhappiness with his contract and the current negotiations, which have not gone smoothly, as well as Messi’s tax case and the way it was covered in the Spanish Press.”

The tax case the quote refers to stems from the investigation Lionel Messi was subjected to, when authorities accused him and his father — Jorge Horacio — of filing incorrect tax forms between 2007 and 2009, as reported by The Inquisitr in June of 2013.

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Messi denies the accusations and found out about the investigation after the report surfaced in the media, which prompted him to make the following statement on his Facebook page:

[fb link=”https://www.facebook.com/LeoMessi/posts/623795090973422″ data-width=”466″>

El Confidencial says that Gerardo Martino’s departure could open the door for the bid on Lionel Messi, as he fights criticisms from teammates, who have said the four-time Ballon d’Or winner could “put more effort into matches and training.”

There are not many teams that can afford the £200 million buyout clause — first reported by the Daily Mail — that Lionel Messi would come with and it would bring great scrutiny from FIFA as they try to enforce their new fair play rules.

Both, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have touched base with Lionel Messi’s father and manager, even though France has a 75 percent high earners tax in place, which makes a potential transfer unlikely.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has tried to brush away rumors of Messi’s departure by stating that the club has plans to make him the highest-paid player in the world next season, as reported by Stefan Coerts of Goal.com via Bleacher Report:

“We want him to be the world’s best-paid player and during summer everything will be sorted. We won’t sell him. He’s with us and hopefully he will retire at the Camp Nou.”

Even though Lionel Messi has suffered from injuries, which have forced him to sit out a good chunk of the current season, he is unquestionably a critical player for Barca and with the high fee associated to his contract, some believe it is unlikely the Argentine will go anywhere anytime soon.

Lionel Messi’s real value is estimated at £331 million (more than $553 million), making him much more expensive than the Portuguese star Ronaldo. The Argentine is considered by many as the best player in the world.

[Image via Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com]