Abel Abel

Lionel Messi open to move to the Emirates

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal on a penalty kick during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Levante UD at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

The four-time World Footballer of the Year is open to a move to England after falling foul of the tax authorities in Spain.

But the Barcelona superstar’s staggering demands look to have priced him out of the budgets of even big-spending Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

The 28-year-old Argentina ace is understood to favour moving to London, with the Gunners his preferred option if he quits Barcelona.

But the deal he wants would see him paid £18m a year AFTER tax, meaning a weekly wage of £600,000 before deductions.

He is currently earning over £14m a year net in La Liga and has a buy-out clause in excess of £175m.

Messi has been with Barcelona since 2001 and has previously said he wants to retire with the Catalan club.

But a probe into an alleged £3m tax fraud, said to have been organised by his father Jorge, has soured Messi’s love affair with Spain.

Last month a judge ruled Messi and his father should stand trial on tax fraud charges.

Prosecutors allege Jorge avoided paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay from 2007 to 2009.

Messi’s lawyers argued the player had no knowledge of his father’s actions, but the judge decided: “There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties.”

Both Messi and his father deny wrongdoing.

Daily Star UK