Even if Messi transferred to the Premier League at a cost of £200 million, it would still be profitable

Speculation over Lionel Messi coming to the Premier League never goes away. Fans would love to see his Argentinian wizardry grace the stadiums of England and Wales.

According to the Manchester Evening News, three unidentified European football clubs, one of which is likely to be Manchester City, have carried out a study to see whether the millions they’d have to pay to bring him here would be worth it. Messi would probably cost about £190 million to sign, according to rumours in the football press. His contract has a £205 million release clause. That’s more than double what Real Madrid paid Manchester United for Christiano Ronaldo in 2009. The current football transfer record is £85 million, when Gareth Bale joined real from Tottenham Hotspur.

But even at around £200 million, a Messi transfer to the Premier League would still likely be profitable, according to the study, by sports marketing agency Euromericas. The company says he should be valued in excess of €400 million, or about £300 million, in terms of the total sales revenues he can generate. “This figure is the result of the sum of the market value of the player, valued 163.2 million; the effect of the marketing (131 + 36 million) and, finally, the media impact (advertising), valued at 70 million. Behind the footballer are Adidas, Pepsi, Dolce & Gabanna or Lay’s. Through the company that bears his name, his father and his brother are handling Messi holds contracts with various brands worldwide since 2009,” Euromericas reports.

Lionel Messi was already ranked as the most valuable player in the world. The International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) Football Observatory conducted a study that used an algorithm based
on 1,500 transfers between clubs since 2009. It determined than Messi outflanks all others by a significant margin.

Simply, the 27-year-old is marketing gold: He’d sell shirts; fill stadiums; and boost interest abroad and help stimulate excitement on world tours. Also, probably most importantly of all, Messi would put people in front of the TV. The last international rights sale for the Premier League topped out at £2 billion — Messi would increase that. He scores more than 30 goals a season in league play, so any team that plays him will likely see its trophy revenue rise too. He can take 50 goals a season in all contests.

The new domestic broadcasting rights deal for the Premier League is bigger than every other: a staggering £5.1 billion. In financial terms, no other country can compete. According to Deloitte, every Premier League club is in the top 40 in global revenue rankings for football teams.

But the Manchester Evening News suggests is that despite all that, the Premier League stil llacks the one thing it really needs: one of football’s top players — Messi or Ronaldo.

Manchester City isn’t the only English club that might stump up the huge transfer fee for Messi. Chelsea have been linked to him too. Both would have to navigate through football’s financial fair play rules (spending restrictions), but with increasing commercial revenue, Manchester Evening News points out that City could stand an improved chance. With Chelsea, it’s more unclear.

Spending £190 million on one player sounds unbelievable, but, with a player such as Messi, it could actually be profitable. When Real Madrid bought David Beckham for £25 million the club sold 1 million shirts — jerseys cost about £50 (often more), so that alone would have paid for him.

Manchester City owners, led by billionaire Sheikh Mansour, have plans to expand in the Far East (big business for English football, just look at Manchester United), and stadium enlargement goals — which means more fans will pay to see the stars play. These things would be amplified with Messi in the team.

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