By Tim Stannard
Barcelona plan Antoine Griezmann - Saul swap with Atletico Madrid in an attempt to cut costs
Sports Burst is no NASA-style egghead when it comes to math and economics, but it is a little puzzled by Barcelona's cunning plan to pay for Lionel Messi for the next five years. Or two, if he decides use a clause in a still theoretical contract to go to MLS and take up a tobacco habit during games along with Gonzalo Higuain.
Barcelona is currently 40% above its wage limit and a billion or so dollars in debt. The club has already signed Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia and cannot register them due to the LaLiga-controlled salary cap. Yet, apparently the club wants to bring in Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid as well.
Although that deal is set to be balanced by Antoine Griezmann going back to Atletico Madrid - hopefully with no LeBron-style 'Decision' video this time - it seems to be a net zero on making savings to pay for a deal to return Lionel Messi to Barcelona, even with a 50% salary cut.
The only other Sports Burst theory is that Martin Braithwaite was secretly on ten times the salary of Messi and is about to be moved to Manchester City.
Real Madrid set to receive Varane offer
While Florentino Perez is busy undoing the damage caused by historical insults to Iker Casillas, Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid president might be getting a phone call from Manchester United in the next few days.
That's the rumors in the mill today with Raphael Varane and United reportedly aligned on personal terms. United would be testing the waters with a bid for a player who is currently on vacation. The French defender would be another big splurge after the recruitment of Jadon Sancho who could be announced as an Old Trafford signing any day now.
Defeat for Barcelona in Copa Libertadores
Wednesday night's action in the Copa Libertadores saw a defeat for Barcelona in the first leg of the Last-16 stages - Barcelona of Ecuador, that is - after a 1-0 loss to Velez Sarsfield. Former champions, Flamengo, took on and defeated both Defensa y Justicia also with a 1-0 victory. River Plate made life a little tricky for themselves for the second leg by only managing a 1-1 draw at home in an all-Argentinean affair against Argentinos Juniors.
There are two whoppers on offer on beIN SPORTS on Thursday from the Copa Sudamericana with Santos hosting Independiente in a Brazil vs. Argentina affair and then an all-Uruguayan dust-up between Nacional and Penarol. Catch the action from 6:05PM ET / 3:05PM.