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No, Leo Messi is not headed to Arsenal

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Let’s do us all a favour and put an end to the rumour, Lionel Messi is headed for Arsenal. Read why this rumour is just that, a rumour and nothing more.

Lionel Messi in an Argentina Jersey
CC by Кирилл Венедиктов (contact)

As we all know, Lionel Messi has told his Blaugrana overlords that he has had enough. And while I cannot say with complete certainty that he will not be going to Arsenal (as the saying goes, anything is possible in football), I do believe there are countless reasons as to why an Arsenal move is, without a doubt, off the cards.

Messi’s departure has, after all,  been brewing in the background for a while now. And it has a lot more to do than his bust-up with Eric Abidal, earlier in the year, who, of course, has left the club himself, and is instead now blamed on current FC Barcelona president, Josep Bartomeu.

With Barcelona’s administrative staff and high-level management in turmoil, the results on the pitch have dried up too. They were not the best team in the La Liga last season, and that’s something to say, considering this isn’t the strongest team we’ve seen at the Bernabéu either.

Keeping all of this in mind, including the way Messi alleges he has been treated, their trusted leader, star player, maestro, whatever you want to call him, has had enough.

But rumours are rumours, we’ve heard everything from Messi potentially teaming up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Madrid to Cristiano heading over to Camp Nou to play with his archrival, but the difference this time is that Messi has officially told management that he wants to bid Barca fans adieu.

But it is beyond me as to why or how Arsenal has become a part of this rumour. We’ll just have to break down why he will not be heading to North London.

This one’s honestly a bit too much, and precisely one of the reasons why, I, more often than not, cannot stand transfer rumours until they have a lot of weight beneath them.

A valid point might be that he is 33 years old and looking to continue at the top level, but why would one of the greatest footballers of all time agree to play in the Europa League, especially after he has scored over 30 goals across all competitions last season and is guaranteed a spot in the Champions League with almost any other buyer who can afford him?

He is also unlikely to win any silverware at Arsenal, barring, perhaps the FA Cup. And like most legendary players, he probably wants to set up his legacy and be remembered for winning titles over the last leg of his career, especially having to prove himself outside of Barcelona, for the first time.

And if this isn’t the case, he would at the least have his entourage of staff telling him to consider his brand and sign with a club that can help him further immortalise his brand and image across and beyond the football world.

Let’s say, none of the above is true, and he still wants to go ahead and sign with Arsenal, can the Gunners even afford him? The simple answer – No.

Stan and Josh have never exactly given Arsenal a large treasure chest, meanwhile, Mesut Ozil’s salary alone has curtailed them from chasing up key targets, even before Unai Emery took the helm, and it has been no different under Mikel Arteta, both of whom, have had to resort to ‘smart purchases’.

Lionel Messi celebrates against Arsenal
CC by m.caimary (contact) – cropped

And while it may be a dream for some Gunners fans’, Arsenal, in all honesty, do not possess the sort of transfer culture that involves making big blockbuster summer signings. One could say this has to do with their miniature-sized wallet, but even in their glory days around the Invincibles era, they often preferred to sign younger players and develop them.

And yes, they have signed Willian, another player who is nearing his mid-30s, but the situation is drastically different. Willian was signed on a free transfer and does not by any means demand a salary that comes close to what Messi would expect.

While it will be interesting to see how Arteta uses him, signing a battle-hardened, Premier League veteran is very different from singing one of the greatest players to ever grace the football field.

Nonetheless, where Messi goes or whether he decides to stay, is anyone’s guess, and the rumours are out there. But Arsenal is definitely not one of those clubs. And anything you hear around the conversation, probably, isn’t worth your time.


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