Barcelona are determined to get Lionel Messi to stay at the club beyond the end of this season, with his contract set to expire in 85 days’ time, but Manchester City are ready to offer the Argentine an alternative option.
City were very interested in making a move for Messi last summer after he announced that he wanted to leave Barcelona via burofax, but then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu pointed to his 700 million euro release clause, which stopped the talks in their tracks.
Messi was not prepared to go to war with Barcelona over this matter, while City were only prepared to pay a transfer fee between 50 and 70 million euros, given that the 33-year-old’s contract had just one year to run.
Pep Guardiola remains very interested in reuniting with Messi, but City will not make a move until he makes clear that he wants to leave Barcelona, a decision that has not yet been made by the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The directors at the Etihad Stadium are preparing an offer in case they have an opportunity to open talks with Messi, yet one of their current issues is that they are trying to make plans for next season but are aware that their moves will depend on whether or not they can lure Messi away from Barcelona. Guardiola needs a striker to replace Sergio Aguero, whose departure has already been announced, and a midfielder.
At City, they believe that Messi can play at a very high level over the next two years and are prepared to make a very appealing offer if he decides that the time has come to try a new challenge. The contract would see him stay in Manchester for a couple of years before heading to another of the City Football Group‘s teams, potentially New York City in MLS.
However, Manchester City understand that there will be competition for his signature if he opts to leave Barcelona. Paris Saint-Germain have been strongly linked as a possible option, but the uncertainty with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe’s contractual situations could go against them. City, meanwhile, have a competitive squad that will be further strengthened in the summer.