Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is reportedly pushing the club to sign Barcelona star Lionel Messi, who they believe is ready to quit the Catalan giants.
According to The Mirror, City have made signing the Argentine international their top priority this summer, as they are convinced that he’s open to leaving Barca.
It stems from the report claiming that Messi’s father, Jorge, is in Barcelona to discuss his son’s future, but it’s suggested that they have no intention of signing a contract extension with just 16 months to run on his current deal.
If an agreement isn’t reached this summer, then the La Liga outfit will face a bitterly difficult decision over whether to allow him see out the contract and lose Messi for nothing, or sell him this summer and recoup a huge transfer fee to rebuild without him.
Further, it’s claimed that Barca will struggle to satisfy his demands as after already signing Neymar and Luis Suarez to new contracts, they are at risk of falling foul of La Liga’s salary restrictions which ensure clubs aren’t allowed to spend over 70 percent of their income on wages.
With Messi reportedly earning £20m-a-year after tax, it is turning into a real strain on the club to get him to commit his future.
As a result, the speculation over a move to Manchester will continue to gather pace in the coming months, with the report also noting that rumours had suggested that Messi wanted Guardiola back at Barca this summer with Luis Enrique’s time at the club coming to an end.
Perhaps slightly over-the-top and melodramatic, Barca’s 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League this week was seen by some as a clear sign that it’s an end of an era at the club and a rebuild is required.
While that may be a little far-fetched at the stage, speculation linking Messi with a move to City is seemingly only going to gather pace with the Mirror also noting that the Premier League giants are ready to offer him £500k-a-week as they look to take advantage of any problems at Barca.