The rumor mill is busily turning again. Manchester City are reportedly lining up a move forBarcelona maestro and talisman Lionel Messi next year, according to reports from the Manchester Evening News.
Messi had been openly linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer after falling out with club officials, but after weeks of intense speculation had decided he would see out his final season at the Camp Nou as he did not want to take his beloved club to court.
However, City could now gain be in pole position to move for the Argentina international at the end of the 2020-21 season if the opportunity arises as he would be free to negotiate his transfer with any club he chooses as a free man.
City were very keen on pursuing the move when Messi handed in his transfer request, with a contract package supposedly having been worked out between them and the player, and they remain one of the few clubs who could afford him next summer.
Their pursuit of Lionel Messi in the last transfer window may have fallen through then, but City have not given up on signing one of football’s greatest ever players and has put themselves in prime position to recruit him in 2021.
Messi defiantly pushed for a Barcelona exit at the start of the last window before choosing to honor the final year of his contract with the La Liga outfit but the great news for the Etihad club is that the maestro has not signed an extension.
If a new deal is not agreed before January, the Argentinian will be able to discuss pre-contract terms with other clubs from January onwards and City chief operating officer Omar Berrada is confident his side are in the perfect financial situation to recruit the six time Ballon d’Or winner.
While Messi falls well outside the age profile City has invested in in recent years, Berrada suggested an exception to the rule could be made for obvious reason.
“Messi is a generational talent, he’s the best player in the world and probably an exception to potential investments that we’d do out of the ordinary but our planning has been done with this current squad and it is being considered with the current opportunities that we have,” he told Manchester Evening News.
“For every single position we have to be prepared because there can be so many things that can happen but at the same time I think we have the financial strength and system ability to make that investment when required.
“That’s what puts us in a position where we feel comfortable that we’ll be able to take the right decision because it also doesn’t mean that we’ll have to rush into anything – first because Sergio [Aguero] and Gabriel [Jesus] are performing very well, they are two of the best strikers in the world right now, and when we do decide to bring in potentially someone else, whether it is next season or the one after that then we will be in a financial position to do it for the right price.”
City looked Messi’s likeliest destination during a bitter war of words between the star forward and Barcelona — something Berrada takes plenty of pride in.
While he is confident City is well placed if the opportunity arrises, he conceded there were no guarantees when it came to chasing Messi.
“He’s an amazing talent,” Berrada said. “He’s somebody that can make a significant impact at any club in the world on and off the pitch immediately.
“He’s the best player in the world, he’s the best player of his generation. I think any club in the world would like to explore the possibility of him joining their team.
“The fact that it was commented that he wanted to come to play for City just shows you how far the team has come over the last years where the best talent of his generation and potentially saying he wants to come and play for us.
“It’s hard to guess what could happen. If you think back to those two weeks where everything played out at Barcelona, it’s almost impossible to guess what will happen next summer.”