Withat the end of the season, rumors have swirled around what his next destination could be. From coming to the United States to play for Inter Miami to taking a lucrative offer in Saudi Arabia, there has been one club that has hung around despite the odds. With Messi reportedly wanting to keep playing Champions League soccer and Barcelona wanting him to return it has been something that could happen despite the financial troubles that the club is going through.
There are more enticing financial offers elsewhere but when it comes to a storybook move for Messi, it wouldn't get much better for an ending to Messi's career, La Liga president Javier Tebas has outlined what a return to the Camp Nou could look like for the Argentinian.
"If Barca signs Leo Messi, his salary will be less than what it is at Paris Saint-Germain," Tebas said on Thursday. "His return is now conditional on selling players. I think that Barca will get a good amount from selling players this summer."
Tebas said something that in one sense is known that Barcelona needs to sell players in order to buy players but he also seemingly alludes that there is a way to make it happen. But if Messi were to return, who are some of the players that Barcelona could offload to reload? Players like Raphinha may have value but if they want to compete for glory, key attackers can't be moved, but there are plenty of parts that could be moved out. For this, let's assume Raphinha stays, especially since his agent, Deco, is reportedly in the running for sporting director.
A young player who can perform on his day, the 20-year-old has struggled for minutes this season. When selling their young players abroad, Barcelona are a club that can get top dollar for them and if Messi were to return, Fati is someone who would be left without a position. If they can get $30 million or more from a Premier League side, that goes a long way to helping clear Barcelona's debts even though they wouldn't have registration issues keeping him. With Raphinha, Ousmane Dembele, and Ferran Torres in the squad, there is plenty of depth if Fati moves on while being a full-time starter could help him progress as a player.
In one year and out the other? Kessie just joined on a free transfer from AC Milan last summer but while he has shined in important moments for the club, between he and Frenkie de Jong, Xavi can only make one choice. The midfield could be losing a key player in Sergio Busquets during the summer but if Messi returns they could be likely to also retain Busquets for another season. Also, Kessie's someone who can be replaced on the cheap via another shrewd free transfer. Getting him for nothing and selling him for a fee would help.
This is where things get tough, Balde is so darn talented. He's a versatile player who can slot in at winger or in defense at wing back but these are things that could make him attainable on the open market. Every team wants the next Alphonso Davies and while Balde is much more expensive if a team wants to work with him on improving defensive awareness, there is star potential. A good destination could be somewhere like Tottenham if the coaching situation is settled. With Pedro Porro on the right, getting a complementary piece on the right would go a long way.
Just moving these players may not be enough alone but alongside expiring contracts, it does help Barcelona raise important funds. Tough decisions will need to be made between players like Torres, Raphinha, and de Jong, but by moving the trio above, Barca can potentially begin a bidding war to write their storybook ending.