Messi – Lautaro Swap Deal Makes Sense For Both Inter and Barcelona

It’s a growing whisper now that Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona this summer. As it stands, Manchester City and Inter are two of the clubs most linked to the Argentine superstar.

The prospect of a reunion with Josep Guardiola in England is truly exciting. But in a deal that favors all parties involved, his homecoming to the Nerazzurri side of Milan might not be far-fetched. In fact, this exact transfer rumor made the rounds in Spanish media during the lock-down.

Inter have always wanted Messi but the financial implications of that deal make it somewhat a “fantasy.” Barcelona, on the other hand, want Lautaro Martinez as well but they are struggling to pay his release clause given the current situation. Just what if a swap deal makes sense for both clubs?

Let’s go back to the recent comments of Inter chief Giuseppe Marotta on Messi two weeks ago:

Everyone would love to have him, but it would be disrespectful to feed fantasies, and that is what these are,” he said via Goal. “We have to go back to reality, knowing that Messi is a great player but he is at Barcelona. He is in the perfect environment. I think he will finish his career there.

But is the Barca captain actually in the perfect environment right now? The answer is no. The Barcelona talisman looked completely dejected after his side’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich. In fact, he looked like a man who had given up. After that loss, Gerard Piqué said that the club was in need of “fresh blood” and he would even offer to go if need be.

Just yesterday, Barca sacked coach Quique Setién but it’s interesting to note that the club also mentioned a “restructuring of the club” alongside. This could well involve a lot of outgoings this summer. Maybe in-comings too.

Going proper to a possible deal, reports claim Messi has a €700M release clause in his contract (which expires next summer). However, at the moment he is expected to cost around €100M. That amount is still not affordable by Inter on a single player.

In the same vein, Lautaro Martinez has a release clause of €111M which Barcelona cannot afford either. There are more than many reasons to see why a swap-deal can be ideal in many ways.

Should a swap-deal go on, Barcelona will be getting a much younger player, agreed. However, Inter will be getting a player that can still perform two more seasons at the top level and perhaps give them that extra bite to dethrone Juventus.

For Barcelona, they will be getting another brilliant Argentine (like Messi) who offers a lot in attack. Luis Suarez is among the players who could also leave the club and he would come in as a like for like replacement. Except that he offers better. Asides from scoring goals, Lautaro’s link-up play upfront means he can play alongside Ansu Fati and more importantly allow Antoine Griezmann to flourish.

The Frenchman has struggled in his debut season at Barca and playing alongside the Inter man can help rejuvenate his confidence upfront. Just like how Romelu Lukaku has complemented with Lautaro to make a perfect attacking blend. From a financial standpoint, the deal makes sense as well. A swap means both clubs will not come under scrutiny by FFP rules as it would just balance the books already (similar to what Barca and Juve did with Authur Melo and Miralem Pjanic).

From a Barcelona perspective, will they want to lose the best player in their history for free? I guess not. So why not use him as a tool to get one of the world’s most exciting young attackers?

More than once, Messi has spoken of his admiration for Lautaro, who shares the pitch with him in the Argentina national team. Of course, the Barcelona captain will give his compatriot the full backing to become the next big thing at the Camp Nou. Also, the little magician knows Barca are somewhat over-dependent on him. If he truly loves the club, he would be in support of fresh air at the club if that means he has to go as well (similar to what Piqué said).

Now let’s go to the recent comments of former Inter director Massimiliano Mirabelli. In his words just last week, Messi is “more than just a dream” for Inter. But he also left some clues in his comments.

When I was at Inter, President Zhang would talk about the transfer market and say, ‘I want Messi,’ but we had to explain that it wasn’t possible due to Financial Fair Play,” Mirabelli told Radio Sportiva. “I can assure you that Messi is more than a dream for Inter. He now has only a year left on his contract and Barca don’t want to risk losing him for free next summer (…) There are important decisions to be made in Spain, but they won’t want to be left empty-handed. Anyone who wants to make the most of the situation should step forward.

A swap-deal cancels out FFP implications and also means the Catalan side gets a gem in return (problem solved).

The bottom line is, Barca don’t want to lose Messi for free and must consider some creative ideas to make the best out of his situation now. I don’t think there is a better option than getting Lautaro in return.

Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport has outlined why it’s entirely possible for Inter to afford the Barca superstar, especially if he arrives on a free transfer. Club owners Suning and the Zhang family can use sponsorship deals to carry a massive salary.

Recent reports say Messi has followed in his father’s footsteps to acquire a property in Milan. Make of that what you will. It could be nothing but it could also be the action of a man ready to take the next step.

Finally, if this deal happens, it will be a massive plus for the Serie A and the football world in general. We would get the opportunity of a Ronaldo-Messi battle in the same league once again. For Serie A, viewing numbers could be well over the charts. CR7 alone brought a massive fan-base to Italian football since his arrival. Imagine what it would be with two of the best names ever plying their trade on the calcio scene…

One comment

  1. For Inter, to let go off Lautaro, is probably THE MOST IDIOTIC thing a club can do! Even for Messi! Give up on a player who can play at the highest level for at least 10 years, in order to get Messi (even with all the benefits that come with it, financial, branding, etc…) is simply insane!
    Plus, if Messi comes to Inter, it can literally turn around everything great that Conte has built till now! It’ll mean that a few players, like Eriksen, for example, will forever be gone out of the surface of the club!
    It’s simply a stupid move! The only way Inter could truly benefit with Messi, without losing their best players, if they get him without having to pay a dime to Barcelona!
    Because…. what happened with that thing in Messi’s contract, everyone used to talk about, saying that he had a special clause under which he could terminate his contract even this year!?? How come no one’s saying anything about it now, but used to mention it all the time, only a month ago?!

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