Betfair odds on Lionel Messi's future pinball as he weighs up leaving Barcelona for Man City or staying at Camp Nou for another season reports Max Liu...
"Messi is [1.44] to stay with the club he joined in 2004, although don't be surprised if, by the time, you read this those odds have moved again... "
After a frenetic morning of betting, which saw the odds on Lionel Messi's future fluctuating wildly, the Argentinian is odds-on with Exchange bettors to stay at Barcelona in the current transfer window.
Messi is [1.44] to stay with the club he joined in 2004 - although don't be surprised if, by the time, you read this those odds have moved again - even though he told them last week that he wants to leave.
On the Sportsbook, he is now 1/3 to stay, from evens earlier today.
Messi's representatives met with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu to discuss the player's future. They argue Messi can leave on a free transfer, due to a clause in his contract, but Barca insist the clause has expired. They say potential suitors would need to meet a buyout clause of 700m Euro.
The current world record transfer fee is the £198m PSG paid Barca for Neymar. At 33, no team will pay more than three times that for Messi.
If Messi leaves it's for City, say odds
So will he stay or will he go? With the odds pin-balling, it's impossible to guess, although the current consensus among bettors does appear to be that Messi is staying at Camp Nou.
The only consistent thing about the markets at the moment is that, if he were to leave, Manchester City would be at the front of the queue. They are [3.5] to sign Messi, with Inter [36.0] and PSG [60.0] a long way behind in the betting.
Pep Guardiola would love to bring the player he coached at Barca to east Manchester. The pair enjoyed four glorious season's together, winning two Champions League titles, and the City manager recently hailed Messi the best player he'd ever coached.
Guardiola is desperate to win the Champions League in what could be his final season at the Etihad and, after four failed attempts, potentially sees Messi as the catalyst for success.
Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo, who knows Barca inside out, said in his exclusive column this week that he believes Messi and Barca will make it work this season if he stays. The Brazilian does not expect to see any drop in the Argentinian's performances for the club.