Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi contacted Pep Guardiola in recent days to discuss a move to Manchester City, according to reports in Spain.
The 33-year-old stunned Barcelona’s board by handing in a transfer request on Tuesday and the Argentine is adamant that he will leave the Camp Nou this summer.
Though Messi’s established himself as the finest footballer of all-time during his time at Barcelona, his finest spell came under Guardiola between 2009-2012.
The Spaniard brought the best out of Messi in a false nine position and the Argentine was disappointed with Guardiola’s decision to leave the club in 2012.
Few clubs in the world could afford Messi’s wages but City are one of a small, exclusive group and Spanish reporter Xavi Campos has informed Catalunya Radio that the Argentine spoke to Guardiola in recent days about the possibility of a move to the Etihad.
The Argentine wants to sound out his former boss before delivering his final decision to Barcelona and the fact he’s now handed in a transfer request suggests that Guardiola was open to the possibility of signing him for City.
City have already spent £65m this summer but their successful appeal against UEFA over Financial Fair Play regulations means the club are in a uniquely strong position given the climate football clubs find themselves in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The club plan to spend around £300m this summer and they’d be prepared to put up a fee for Messi, even if the Argentine is angling to leave on a free transfer.
Messi failed to activate a clause in his deal earlier this summer that allowed him to leave on a free transfer but his lawyers believe they can work around the clause given the season was extended by the pandemic.
City could face competition from rivals Manchester United for Messi’s signature with reports elsewhere in Spain claiming the Argentine’s representatives have already sounded out the Red Devils about a possible move for the forward to Old Trafford.
Such widespread discussions are customary for a player of Messi’s size and his entourage are keen to speak to as many different suitors before relaying the details back to the Argentine.
But the ultimate decision will fall on Messi’s shoulders and a reunion with former mentor Guardiola could appeal.
City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, joined the club from Barcelona and Spaniard has a prior relationship with Messi that could work in City’s favour.
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