As the summer transfer window slowly edges towards deadline day, the main talking point remains Lionel Messi and whether or not he will be playing for Barcelona next season. Although Messi and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a new contract, the Blaugrana’s enormous wage bill is preventing his club from being able to announce his new deal.
Clubs’ wage bills should not exceed 70 percent of their income, however in Barcelona’s case their wage bill is at 110 percent of their income.
What would the impact of Messi leaving be?
Should the Argentine leave not only the Camp Nou but LaLiga Santander this summer, it would have a seismic impact on the competition. Many believe that this impact would be detrimental.
“LaLiga cannot allow Messi to leave,” said Getafe president Angel Torres on Tuesday.
“They would be making a mistake and we would all regret it.
Meanwhile, Marc Ciria, the general director of Diagonal Investments, told MARCA that allowing Messi to leave would make the league significantly less attractive.
“Messi is the last symbol and franchise player remaining in LaLiga Santander, so if we lose him and he goes to another league then Spanish football would be even less attractive and less competitive,” Ciria said.
Could an exception be made?
While Barcelona president Joan Laporta and LaLiga president Javier Tebas have been looking into ways to afford Barcelona greater flexibility to have Messi’s contract signed, certain figures have criticised the idea that one club could be given unique treatment.
“It would not be good if only Barcelona were allowed this,” said Marc Menchen, the founder of 2Playbook.
“The rules should not be a la carte. If you are being flexible, you have to do that with all the teams.”
Messi’s impact at Barcelona extends far beyond his role on the pitch, as he alone is responsible for an estimated third of the club’s income, given his value when it comes to the sponsorship contracts, marketing efforts and ticket sales.
Ciria calculates that his impact for LaLiga is similar, at around 20 to 30 percent of the organisation’s income, and he shares the widespread belief that it is far better for Messi to remain at Barcelona this summer than for him to seek pastures new abroad.
“LaLiga is not the same brand without Messi in it,” Ciria added.