Yes, a combination of incompetence and hubris. It all started going south when Neymar got taken from them. They went on a big dick swinging contest spree, signing players for ridiculous fees on even more absurd wages, almost as if to prove a point.They should have sold him last season. As ridiculous a player as he is, they very clearly need the money. City would have paid up, they would have got his wages off the books and they could have hopefully fixed the mess they're in due to their absolute dog shite management.
That being said, I wouldn't trust that board to fix this mess, with or without Messi anyway. Look at the signings they've made and the fecking ridiculous wages they're all on. They've essentially got a squad composed of mostly rubbish who no-one wants, veterans who are very clearly past their prime or good players on wages so ridiculous it makes them almost impossible to move on.
Ridiculous how they've got to this point.
Their insistence on keeping Messi at any cost now just stinks of cowardice. No one wants to be the president or board that let Messi leave, even if it cripples the club. The attempt to save face by saying he got a 50% pay cut is laughable. They still have to pay him 60m for letting his contract expire and an undisclosed signing on fee - which conveniently doesn’t count towards the salary cap - and then they gave him a 5 year contract, despite being 34, which conveniently adds up to what we would’ve made previously in two. Shambolic and irresponsible.
The idea that’s also our forwards that they are saving the club by getting wages deferred, just ignores the fact that they are going to still have to catch those wages up next season, likely against the backdrop of an aging and depleted squad.
I had to laugh at the cheek of them refusing to pay out the difference on Griezmann’s contract in a potential move to Atlético, while demanding cash plus Saul. They need to accept they can’t afford to keep him or other players if they want I register Messi and their new signings, and let some players go for bargain basement prices or on a free. Such as Coutinho and Griezmann himself. That’s the only way you’re shifting them on on their wages. Or moving them out on loan and getting as much covered as possible.