The Argentine is widely regarded as the world’s best player, and has spearheaded the Catalans’ attack during their recent period as, arguably, Europe’s best club force.
But there are rumours circulating that he has grown discontented at the Nou Camp in recent times, with the La Liga champions set to go through a period of change.
This has alerted City, with key backroom figures such as Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano working on a massive offer for Messi.
They have been further buoyed by the fact that the inspirational attacker is yet to pen a new contract with Barca, and speculation that the club may cash in to fund a series of moves for big players to usher in a new era of success.
A fee of at least £168m will be needed to capture the 26-year-old, which would dwarf the current world-record figure for a player – which is set at the £86m Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale last year.