Grealish 'to have spells on bench' at Man City
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Lionel Messi could be in line to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City over the coming weeks, with the Argentina international preferring a move to the newly-crowned Premier League champions over Paris Saint-Germain, according to reports. The mercurial 34-year-old is on the lookout for a new team after sensationally leaving Barcelona to end his 21-year association with the Catalan giants.
Messi was expected to pen a new five-year deal at the Nou Camp on Thursday in a show of commitment to the club he joined as a 13-year-old back in 2000.
However, he was left unable to sign on as a result of Barcelona’s precarious financial situation.
The five-time European champions blamed La Liga restrictions in an official statement, with Messi still a free agent ahead of the new campaign.
PSG have been heavily linked with the forward and are believed to be in talks over the possibility of bringing him to the Parc des Princes this summer.
They are reportedly preparing the offer of a two-year contract that would provide Messi with Champions League football and the opportunity to play alongside former Barcelona team-mate Neymar.
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Although a move to PSG appears to be his most likely option, City have also been credited with an interest in his services.
Guardiola and Messi worked wonders together at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, and a reunion with the Spanish boss may be the latter’s ‘first choice’, according to Marca.
The report claims that City’s transfer strategy is up in the air following the news of Messi’s shock exit, with their interest in Tottenham striker Harry Kane cooling as a result.
The England skipper is understood to be angling for a move to the Etihad Stadium, with Guardiola admitting earlier this week that he is keeping tabs on the 27-year-old’s situation.
However, it remains to be seen whether City, who have already signed Jack Grealish for £100million this summer, will shelve their desire to land Kane in order to pursue a move for Messi.
Guardiola recently suggested that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is not on his radar, but things can change quickly in football and it seems as though a late approach for Barcelona’s greatest player could still emerge as a possibility.
“We spent £40 million on Jack Grealish, we paid £100m and £60m of that was raised from transfers,” the 50-year-old told reporters.
“He will wear the No 10 [shirt]. We were convinced by Grealish and convinced Leo would stay at Barca. Right now he is not in our thoughts.”
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Meanwhile, former England defender Steve Howey has implored City to act quickly and nip ahead of PSG in the race for Messi’s signature.
“It’d be absolutely amazing and I’d love to see him week in, week out,” Howey told Football Fancast.
“It would be a big test for him. La Liga is a very good league but it isn’t the Premier League.
“I still think he would absolutely light it up and I would love it if he would come to the Premier League.”
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