How do you stop one of your rich rivals taking your most prized possession?
The best option is probably putting an almost unimaginable price tag on him so ludicrous you think they would never be able to afford.
Well as we all know, that’s exactly what Barcelona had thought they had done when they valued Neymar at nearly £200million – until PSG rolled up with their unlimited petro-dollars and whiskey the Brazilian away to Paris.
That is the current state of the transfer wild west that we live in today.
Everyone is for sale and the player is king.
Gone are the days of Sir Alex Ferguson ruling United’s transfer dealings with an iron fist, willing to leave players rotting on the bench for disobedience.
And after being burned once, Barcelona are worried that they could be stung again and this time it could be far worse.
Losing Neymar was bad, but they used the money to fund the purchases of Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho (well part-fund at least).
But if Barca were to let Lionel Messi slip through their fingers, against their will then their fans may never forgive them.
Messi signed a new contract in November which lasts until 2021 and includes a whopping €700million release clause.
However, Pancho Schroder says even that eye-watering figure might not be enough to protect their asset.
“We set up a clause which we think is enough to have Messi retire at FC Barcelona,” Schroder told Sky Sports .
“But having said that, we thought a year ago that the clause for Neymar was also good enough to retain the player, and that proved last summer not to be the case.
“Looking at the future, I think, is difficult, but I don’t have a crystal ball and these days things are getting a little bit crazy.”
Yes Pancho, things are getting crazy.
But Messi isn’t going anywhere… is he?
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