Barcelona are desperate to keep Lionel Messi beyond the end of the season, with his contract set to expire in 85 days, but Manchester City are willing to offer the Argentine another option.
After Messi announced his desire to leave Barcelona via burofax last summer, City were very interested in making a move for him, but then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu cited his 700 million euro release clause, which put an end to the talks.
Messi refused to go to war with Barcelona over the issue, while City were only willing to pay a transfer fee of between 50 and 70 million euros for the 33-year-old, despite the fact that his contract had only one year left on it.
Pep Guardiola is still keen on reuniting with Lionel Messi, but City will not make a move unless Messi makes it clear that he wants to leave Barcelona, a decision that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has yet to make.
The directors of the Etihad Stadium are preparing an offer in the event that they are able to open talks with Messi, but one of their current issues is that they are trying to make plans for next season while also being aware that their actions will be contingent on whether or not they are able to lure Messi away from Barcelona. Guardiola requires a striker to replace Sergio Aguero, who has already left the club, as well as a midfielder.
City believes Messi can play at a high level for the next two years and is willing to make an enticing offer if he decides to take on a new challenge. He’ll stay in Manchester for a couple of years before moving on to another City Football Group team, possibly New York City in Major League Soccer.
Manchester City, on the other hand, is aware that if he chooses to leave Barcelona, he will face stiff competition for his signature. Paris Saint-Germain has been heavily linked as a possible destination, but the contractual uncertainty surrounding Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could work against them. In the meantime, City has a strong squad that will be bolstered in the summer.