Manchester City are reportedly plotting an audacious world-record swoop to prise Lionel Messi away from Barcelona and reunite him with Pep Guardiola.
It’s claimed that City are putting together a financial offer worth over £200m to try and sign the Argentine international in the summer.
That consists of a world-record transfer fee of over £100m, with a basic wage of £500,000-a-week to be put on the table, according to The Mirror.
As noted in the report, uncertainty over Messi’s future after he opted not to sign a contract extension in the summer has raised question marks over whether or not he will stay with the Catalan giants for the remainder of his career.
With Guardiola at the helm, it’s added that City are confident that should Messi consider an exit, then they would be the most attractive destination for him in order to reunite with his former Barca boss with whom he enjoyed significant success.
It’s a difficult position for Barca to be in given that the 29-year-old’s deal will expire in 2018, and if a new extension isn’t agreed upon, then they may well have to consider selling him rather than losing him for nothing.
City have shown that they are more than willing to splash out in the transfer market in recent years, and it’s claimed by the Mirror that they have the resources to make this move happen if it becomes a realistic possibility.
Chelsea and clubs in China have also been mentioned, but an opportunity to play in England under the stewardship of a familiar face in Guardiola could very well prove to be the most attractive option if Messi does indeed decide that he wishes to pursue a new challenge.
Leaving Barcelona seems like a distant possibility currently, but if contract talks continue to drag on with no real progress, then it will only strengthen City’s belief that they could sign Messi.