Argentina captain and national idol Lionel Messi is reportedly ready to leave Spain and ply his trade in England after supposedly becoming fed up with the Spanish tax authorities. Arsenal, which plays in London, is rumored to be his preferred destination, but it won’t be cheap. As a result, an Arsenal fan is trying to start a crowdfunding campaign to convince the club to consider the purchase, with the intention being for fans to fund Messi’s wages if the joint-leaders of the Premier League are to splash the cash on Messi.
— Matt Clark (@matt_clarky) November 16, 2015
La Pulga has a release clause of €225 million (AR$4 billion at the blue rate) in his current contract at Barcelona, which runs until 2018, and Messi would also demand wages of approximately £600,000 (AR$13.8 million at the blue rate) a week, a net wage increase of around 25 percent, in order to tempt him to ditch the Spanish sunshine for the British drizzle.
Messi, who arrived in Barcelona’s La Masia academy 15 years ago aged just 13, has frequently reiterated his desire to retire in the Catalonian capital, although he could be getting fed up after Spanish judges decided to press charges against him and his dad, Jorge Messi, for failing to pay his taxes between 2007 and 2009, an offense which could see Messi face jail time if found guilty.
The crowdfunding campaign has been set up by Arsenal fan Matt Clark, who is hoping to convince 599,999 other Arsenal fans to commit £1 (AR$23 at the blue rate) a week to go towards la Pulga’s pay packet. Despite the ludicrous nature of the plan, you can’t fault the guy’s ambition, no matter how unrealistic a move for Messi to join the Gunners would be.
— Matt Clark (@matt_clarky) November 17, 2015
Obviously, there are a plethora of variables that would need to happen to make this move happen, and it seems thoroughly unrealistic that Messi would move to Arsenal, which historically hasn’t been particularly exuberant in the transfer market compared to its English rivals. Despite Arsenal being the seventh richest football club in the world, not only are there clubs in stronger financial positions but these also have owners more prepared to give the finger to Financial Fair Play measures implemented by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
Not only was Arsenal listed as the seventh richest club in the world this year, but in July Arsenal director Lord Harris claimed that the club could buy any player in the world… except Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, after announcing cash reserves of around £200 million in the bank. Even so, it is not at all likely Arsenal will be breaking the bank (and its budget) to secure Messi any time soon. Nor is it likely that Barcelona would be at all willing to sell Messi, because why on earth would you sell your best player?
In news which is actually serious, Messi is now back in training after being injured for nearly two months and is expected to play some part in this weekend’s top-of-the-table clash between Real Madrid and Messi’s current employer, Barcelona. Nobody knows how fit Messi really is, though, so it remains to be seen how much of the game he will be involved with. The clásico is at 2:15 PM on Saturday if you wish to spend your Saturday afternoon inside waiting to see when (or if) the great man makes his comeback.