Lionel Messi and his team seem certain that they will be able to terminate their deal at Barcelona in a matter of days, whereas the club believes their collaboration will last until 2021.
Either way, the situation seems pretty clear and whether it takes place this year or the next, Messi’s time at Barcelona seems numbered and that will be ringing alarm bells in the Barca boardroom.
Who could replace Messi?
We’ve named nine potential options for Barcelona and rated each of them by both quality and how realistic a deal would be.
Replacing one Argentine wizard with another makes sense on paper and Dybala was in brilliant form for Juventus at the back end of last season, but the ship has probably sailed for Barcelona.
Being linked so strongly with a Tottenham move suggests Dybala almost left Juventus last summer, though I doubt they’ll be so willing this time around after a strong 2019/20 campaign.
It seems as though Barcelona and Inter still have a long way to go before a deal is completed, but this move has been touted far too much for there to be no common ground between the clubs.
As long as the Catalans don’t expect to get a 30-goal-a-season forward straight off the plane, there’s good reason to think Martinez would be one of the best long-term investments on the market.
Arguably one of the Premier League’s most underrated players, Mahrez enjoyed a fantastic second season at City, while also not being crucial enough to make him an ‘untouchable’ at the Etihad.
Therefore, I’d say Barcelona wouldn’t have too much trouble signing him, but would his arrival get the pulses racing as a Messi replacement? Absolutely not.
Considering Liverpool are world and Premier League champions, as well as having won the Champions League in 2019, there’s not too many incentives to leave Anfield right now.
Mane has recently been mentioned on Barcelona’s radar and he would be an incredible player to bring in for Messi, but I just can’t see him cutting ties with Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
Unfounded or not, there always seems to be more speculation about Salah leaving Liverpool than Mane and there’s no denying that the Egyptian is one of the sport’s most prolific forwards.
Like another player further down the list, though, we think Salah would be more likely to sign a contract with Real Madrid as opposed to their Spanish rivals.
In terms of quality and suitability, I’m not sure anybody scores higher than Neymar and Barcelona reportedly did their all to make this transfer happen last summer.
However, the timing would make absolutely no sense for PSG and would the chiefs at Camp Nou want to move on from the Messi era by crawling back for one of their former players?
There’s no harm in dreaming big, but Barcelona would have their head in the clouds if they thought they stood a chance of signing Mbappe who, if anything, would probably choose Real Madrid.
As one of the most consistent suppliers of goals and assists in European football at just 20 years old, it’s surprising that Sancho hasn’t been linked with Barcelona more this summer.
It’s a move that would make so much sense for the Blaugrana, though I’m inclined to think the radio silence has a lot to do with the fact Manchester United will probably sign him before the year is out.
It would be classic Barcelona for them to turn to their youngsters and perhaps it would be the club learning their lesson if they resisted the temptation to spend big in the transfer market.
That being said, Fati is still a long, long way away from being the final product and it might be five years until we see him producing goal and assist stats worthy of being a Messi replacement.
From the potential solutions above, which one would replace Messi the best?