Manchester City are preparing an audacious £164million world-record bid for Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi, Express reports.
Speculation from Spain has claimed that the Sky Blues are tabling a £164million offer to land the former World Player of the Year to the Etihad next season.
Sheikh Mansour, owner of Man City, has been a fan of the Argentine for some time and believes this is the right moment for him to leave the Catalan club.
Messi has been in good form for Barcelona this year, scoring 40 goals in just 43 games under the coaching of Gerardo Martino.
Yet despite his impressive numbers, the 26-year-old hasn’t had the best of seasons with Barcelona, falling out of the Champions League and trailing Real and Atletico Madrid in the La Liga race.
It is believed that Messi’s poor form is partly due a stall in contract negotiations, which could open the door for a move to one of Europe’s other top clubs.
Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with the forward, but City believe that they can lure Messi to form a partnership with fellow countryman Sergio Aguero in the Premier League.
And with Barcelona set to lose a few veterans in the summer, a big injection of cash could be what is needed to rebuild the squad.