Much has been said about the fate of Lionel Messi once his contract with FC Barcelona expires in June 2021. Nothing seems to be off the table now, as the latest reports suggest that the club is looking for an investment in the United States which could lead to a reunion between Messi and former tag-team partner Luis Suarez.
According to an NBC report, Barcelona presidential candidate Xavi Vilajoana has declared that the Catalan giants are planning to buy an MLS franchise. In the process, they aim to also offer Messi a share in the said team apart from signing him as a player. To make the deal sweeter, they reportedly plan to sign former FC Barcelona player Suarez, who now plays for La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.
It may be remembered that Barca's decision to let go of Suarez along with other key members of the squad was believed to have pushed Messi to decide to ask for a (botched) transfer last summer.
This reports comes just days after Messi was quoted saying that he is interested in playing in the US. The question is, just how feasible is this scenario?
First of all, FC Barcelona is not believed to be in a financial position to afford an expansion into the MLS. After all, they have been having a widely publicised financial crisis that has led to pay cut across the entire club organisation, including the all-important first team squad.
If they can't pay their top-flight players, how can they afford to buy another franchise?
They will also be facing competition from other groups who are interested in the Argentine's signature. Last summer, City Football Group, which owns NYCFC and Manchester City, had been the front-runners to snatch up Messi if he had managed to wiggle out of his massive release clause from FC Barcelona.
City Football Group reportedly put a five-year $830 million deal on the table, which includes a stint with Premier League side Manchester City as well as NYCFC.
Messi won't be expected to settle for some of the lesser-known franchises in the MLS, but the top teams are not likely to sell. Even if they did, Barcelona won't be in a financial position to propose a deal.
This appears to be yet another sensational rumour which might not hold water, but after the shock of Messi's declaration of his desire to leave, anything can happen.