One of the biggest transfer stories in decades was witnessed when Lionel Messi submitted an official request stating his intention to leave Barcelona after almost 20 years with the club.
The Argentina international cited many reasons, including disillusionment with how the club was being run, failures to significantly strengthen the squad as well as perceived dishonesty on the part of former club president Josep Bartomeu, as his reasons for wanting to leave.
Ultimately, Lionel Messi reneged on his decision in order to avoid a protracted court battle but it is a foregone conclusion that he would leave Barcelona at the expiration of his contract next summer.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner promised to give his all to the Blaugrana but his performances have been significantly below par in the early part of the current campaign.
Barcelona themselves have also struggled and although they remain the only club with a 100% record in the Champions League, their domestic form has left a lot to be desired.
With 11 matchdays gone in La Liga, the Catalan giants currently find themselves in 7th spot, 10 points behind table-toppers Real Sociedad – albeit with two games in hand – while Lionel Messi has scored just two goals from open play all season.
There has also been a crisis off the field, leading former president Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign alongside his entire board.
Fresh elections have been fixed for January, and an interim governing body called the Barcelona Management Committee has been placed with the day-to-day running of the club in the meantime.
BMC president speaks up about what Barcelona should have done about the Lionel Messi situation
Tusquets says he would have sold Lionel Messi last summer
At the inauguration of the Barcelona Management Committee in October, Carles Tusquets was named as the president and in this position, he has overseen the general operations of the club.
The octogenarian has a background in economics and was previously involved in managing the treasury of Barcelona, from where he warned the club about their burgeoning and unsustainable wage bill.
He has come out to state that he would have handled the Lionel Messi situation differently had he been president by putting the economic reality first.
Speaking to Spanish radio station RAC 1, Tusquets said:
“From an economic point of view, I would have sold Messi in the summer. It would have been desirable for the money we would have received, and for what we would have saved.””We have received some bills from the previous board that we don’t want to sign. We will move them to the next meeting. I will not say what they are, but they are things that are not well formulated, nor do we think they fit the market price.”
Barcelona are currently on the brink of a financial crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the club revealed that they need to cut costs by about £170m to prevent potential bankruptcy.
The wage bill remains the highest cause of concern, with Lionel Messi currently one of the highest-paid players in the world. However, the club revealed that they were unable to agree on terms for a salary cut with the players.