Lionel Messi playing in the Premier League could be a real possibility this season.
Manchester City have emerged as frontrunners to sign the six-time Ballon d'Or winner after he shocked the world on Tuesday night by submitting a transfer request to Barcelona.
Messi to Man City
It's claimed that Messi's team made it abundantly clear to PSG Sporting Director Leonardo that they had already made their final decision: to reunite with Pep Guardiola in Manchester.
As insane as it would be for Messi to link up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus or Kylian Mbappe at PSG, there's no denying that a move to the Etihad Stadium makes the most sense on paper.
The Citizens play the exact brand of passing football that served Messi so well at Camp Nou and the Argentine arguably enjoyed the best form of his career under Guardiola's management.
Will he shine in England?
And seeing as City have the millions at their disposal to make a move for Messi financially possible, it's no wonder that many supporters are already treating the situation as a 'done deal'.
As a result, we can be forgiven for getting slightly ahead of ourselves by speculating about what a world with Messi playing in the Premier League would actually look like.
Would Messi produce his Barcelona numbers in England? Would City wrestle the Premier League title back from Liverpool? Would Messi perform on a cold, windy night in Burnley?
Messi's value in England
They're all important questions that we'll have to sit tight to discover the answers to, but one thing we can work out ahead of time is Messi's value compared to the current Premier League crop.
The data gurus at Transfermarkt constantly calculate the transfer estimates of the world's top players and Messi is no exception with his current market value standing at £100.80 million.
So, how does that compare to the rest of the Premier League? Well, we decided to find out and Messi would actually become the competition's sixth most valuable player if he did indeed join.
You can check out the top ten down below to see who are rubbing shoulders with Messi:
10. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) - £72.00 million
It seems fitting that the player who almost pipped Messi to the 2019 Ballon d'Or is also mixing it with him in the value rankings and the world's best centre-back deserves nothing less.
His value declining below what Liverpool paid for him is merely down to the COVID-19 pandemic with the Premier League and world champion going from strength to strength at Anfield.
9. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) - £72.00 million
Is Rashford's value bloated by the fact he's English and plays for United? Of course it is, but credit where credit is due because the 22-year-old was fantastic on and off the pitch last season.
Even with a quiet end to the campaign, which was preceded by a serious back injury, 22 goals in all competitions meant that 2019/20 was the year that Rashford truly realised his potential at Old Trafford.
8. N'Golo Kante (Chelsea) - £72.00 million
It's been a good two years since Kante was touted as one of the world's best players after back-to-back Premier League titles with Leicester and Chelsea, before winning the World Cup with France.
But declining from world-class to 'only' being great still means that Kante is one of the Premier League's finest players and a key asset going into Chelsea's intended 2021 title charge.
7. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) - £99.00 million
If there's a better full-back in world football, we haven't seen them and no, Alphonso Davies might be a European champion, but he's not on Alexander-Arnold's level just yet.
The young England star deserved an outside shot for the PFA Player of the Year award this season and amassing 13 Premier League assists from full-back is simply beggar belief.
6. Lionel Messi (Manchester City?) - £100.80 million
Ah, the main man. It's insane to think that Messi can still command a nine-figure transfer fee despite being deep into this thirties, but his mind-boggling statistics explains this anomaly in an instant.
The 2019/20 season was the biggest sign yet of Messi's evolution into a playmaker as he became the first player in history to surpass 20 assists in La Liga, while also topping the scoring charts.
5. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - £108.00 million
From the second best passer in the world to the number one... it's a scary thought that City could have a monopoly on the world's deadliest assist providers and it could mark bad news for Liverpool.
Guardiola will be rubbing his hands together at the prospect of Messi and De Bruyne combining with tiki-taka triangles and it will surely be enough to bring the Premier League title back to Manchester.
4. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) - £108.00 million
Injuries and Tottenham's form going down the pan has meant that Kane hasn't been able to produce the numbers that saw him win back-to-back Premier League Golden Boots over the last two seasons.
Nevertheless, nobody can deny that Kane is one of the world's best number nines when he's on song and 24 goals from just 34 outings last season still marked a fantastic return.
3. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - £108.00 million
It's being reported that Barcelona are eyeing up Mane as a potential replacement for Messi if he leaves for Man City this summer, so perhaps this particular order will never come to fruition.
But Mane is arguably Liverpool's best player right now, so it will take much more than £108 million for Barcelona to force a deal for a player that looks more than content on Merseyside.
2. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - £108.00 million
It should come as no surprise that so many Liverpool players are bobbing around the £100-million mark when they romped to the Premier League title earlier than any team before them in 2019/20.
And Salah played an invaluable role in the Reds' run to 99 points and the fact he didn't win the Premier League Golden Boot for the first time at Liverpool is hardly a valid criticism.
1. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) - £115.20 million
Out on his own in first place is Sterling. We're not sure the England star is indeed the best player in the Premier League, but he's not far off and 31 goals marked a superb return in 2019/20.
Sterling has turned himself into one of the most prolific wingers in world football over the last three seasons and could start chasing closer to 40 goals if Messi is providing him with ammunition.
More than just transfer value
Of course, of course, the elephant in the room here is that Messi would be streets ahead of his potential Premier League arrivals if he was arriving on English shores at his prime.
Messi is now 33 years old and his goal-scoring did decline in 2019/20, albeit only by his own astronomical standards, so it's not a crushing inditement that his value is slowly falling.
Besides, if we're to look at the wider connotations of 'value' in football, we're pretty confident in saying that Messi would indeed bring the most to the table if he moved to England.
There's good reason to think that the Citizens would be getting as much bang for their bucks in terms of kit sales as they would goals scored. But hey, he is one of the GOATs, after all.
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