Manchester City are preparing to do whatever it takes to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona this summer, but will not try to sign him if they have a suspicion that he is going to turn them down. That’s according to a report in the Sun, which claims Barca are set to reduce their asking price to £150million.
Messi appears to be determined to leave Barcelona, and isn’t simply trying to enforce change at the club.
The Argentine submitted a transfer request on Tuesday and told the Catalans that he wants a move away.
He believes he is entitled to walk away for free due to a clause in his contract, which allows him to leave for free at the end of any season.
But Barcelona believe the opposite, and think that clause expired in June.
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That’s because the La Liga season was originally meant to end then, and the contract wasn’t re-written to accommodate the change.
But according to the Sun, Messi is determined to reunite with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad, and is confident he’ll be able to do so for free.
However, Barca are also contemplating reducing their asking price from €700m [£636m] down to £150m.
It would then cost City £70m every year in wages, image rights and other add-ons.
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The Sun also claims Messi’s representatives started sounding out potential clubs for him to join before he handed in his transfer request.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner reportedly told his team to start talking with other clubs ten days before his transfer request was submitted, in an attempt to gauge interest in his services.
And City were one of the clubs contacted, with the Premier League runners-up taking the decision that they wanted to do all they could to sign him, provided he stays committed to joining.
The Sun’s report also claims he’s spoken to Paris Saint-Germain about a reunion with former team-mate Neymar, but that City remain in pole place after their opening talks.
And CBS Sport pundit Ian Paul Joy believes City would be the best place for him to go, as he could help them get over the hump in Europe and lift their first Champions League.
He said: “I would be very surprised if he doesn’t end up at Manchester City.
“I understand that there may be some games behind the scenes as to how you get Messi, the numbers are astronomical, there’s no way any club will pay €700million for a 33-year-old, which is what Lionel Messi is trying to do.
“He’s trying to come to a deal with Barcelona, he’s trying to figure out a way out of this contract, he’s got the release clause, which should have been triggered before June 1.
“Because of the special circumstances coming after June 1, and because the Champions League has just finished, Messi and his representatives think that they’ve got a way out of his contract.
“If you’re talking about where he fits in, it’s absolutely anywhere he wants to play.
“If you look at teams who were in the Champions League, PSG were a Lionel Messi away from winning the Champions League.
“Having him in their ranks would have changed absolutely everything for their team, and there’s no doubt they could afford the salary he demands.
“Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, great history between the two, they need a Lionel Messi, they need something special to once again go at the Champions League, which is the crown they want to try and win.”
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