According to the Spanish outlet Marca, Lionel Messi had rejected an offer from Manchester City which included a massive €100 million signing bonus alone. The offer included an annual salary of €50 million which translates into a mind boggling amount of almost €1 million per week. This offer was made before Messi had signed a contract renewal with Barcelona but the Argentine was not turned by the massive numbers on offer.
In the summer of 2017, Messi had only one year left on his contract and with Neymar’s departure, Barcelona were in a very weak position. Manchester City knew that if Messi signs a new contract, he would be staying at Barcelona for the foreseeable future so they moved in quickly and made the huge offer. Messi was free to negotiate with other clubs from January if he hadn’t signed a new contract but the Argentine recently committed his future to the Catalan club by signing a renewal.
Barcelona already have a massive wage bill which has been substantially increased by Messi’s renewal which El Mundo claims that will pay Messi around €70 million per year (£62 million). This contract will put Messi only behind Neymar when it comes to the best paid footballers in the world. With reports emerging that Barcelona are close to signing Griezmann and with their interest in Coutinho, they need to sell some of their high earning players in order to balance their books and bring their wage structure in control.