On Thursday, the football world received a shocker after Barcelona announced that their captain and talisman, Lionel Messi, would not be returning for the new season.
Messi’s contract had expired at the end of June, but Barcelona still maintained that their greatest player ever would sign a new deal.
As of Wednesday, it was believed that Messi would sign his new contract and even reportedly agreed to take a wage cut.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, the Catalan giants announced that the greatest player in their history would not be signing a new deal due to financial obstacles.
Barca’s statement read: Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).
As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.
Messi’s departure leaves a big void at Barcelona, but could it see the Spanish giants reignite their interest in Nigeria’s highly-rated winger Samuel Chukwueze?
Then, Barcelona hoped to re-sign Neymar but considered Chukwueze an alternative, although a move failed to materialise.
But with Messi now gone, could the move for Chukwueze be on the cards again?
It looks highly unlikely.
While Messi’s departure leaves a big hole in Barcelona’s squad, it’s very unlikely they bring in a replacement for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
La Blaugrana are currently in a messy financial situation, which makes it almost impossible to bring in potential replacements.
In fact, it’s so bad that free summer signings like Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero have not been registered due to their financial situation.
The Cules have spent way beyond their financial limit, and under La Liga rules and regulations, they will need to make savings of over 200m euros from players sales if they are to register new signings.
And as a result, a move for Chukwueze is impossible. The youngster has a release clause of 100m euros at Villarreal, although the Yellow Submarines could sell him for less than that.
Still, it’s financially impossible for the Catalan giants to sign the Super Eagles star. Aside from that, it doesn’t make any sporting sense as they don’t really need a player like him.
For now, they have to find a way to sell some of the players, which would allow them to register their new signings.
La Liga actually proffered a solution with the CVC investment plan, but Barca and Real Madrid believe the deal would destroy their Super League ambitions.