Manchester United have been urged to take their opportunity and make a move to sign Lionel Messi this week.
The Argentine forward cut a disconsolate figure as the final nail was hammered into Barcelona's disappointing season with a humilating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich on Friday.
Messi's future has already been the subject of speculation amid rumours of his discontent at the club, who now face a significant rebuild to reverse their fortunes..
At 33, Messi's days at the pinnacle of football are becoming increasingly numbered, and there are suggestions he could seek pastures new in a bid to end his career on a high.
And pundit Graeme Souness feels now is the perfect opportunity for either United or their rival neighbours Man City to swoop in.
Writing in his column for The Times, Souness said: "Lionel Messi looked like a man who has had enough of carrying that team; without him they wouldn’t even be good enough to qualify for the Champions League.
"This would be the perfect week to put a bid in for the 33-year-old Argentinian and I could easily see him playing in Manchester — at either United or City."
Messi has always been adamant he wishes to finish his career at Barcelona and is not interested in a move elsewhere.
However recent developments may have given him food for thought, particularly the demoralising drubbing from Bayern.
A picture emerged after the match of Messi slumped whilst sat on a bench just staring at the ground as if he was still struggling to come to terms with what had just happened to his team.
Teammate Gerard Pique admitted Barca had hit "rock bottom" and with manager Quique Setien expected to get the sack, the club have some way to go before they can think about being serious challengers in Europe again.
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Inter Milan remain the favourites to sign Messi should he move on though, having already publicly discussed the rumours linking him with the San Siro.
One Inter chief labelled the speculation as pure "fantasy football" but the Serie A giants have the financial backing to make it happen.
And on Friday's evidence, persuading Messi looks to be a lot easier a task than it might have been previously.
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