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Exclusive: Pundit urges Man City to sign Messi amid Barcelona financial problems

Steve Howey has called on Manchester City to take advantage of Barcelona’s financial difficulties and sign Lionel Messi.

The 34-year-old, who won his first international title – the Copa America – with Argentina at the weekend, saw his Nou Camp contract expire at the end of last month.

Ronald Koeman’s Spanish giants have been wanting to renew Messi’s deal but La Liga regulations mean they must reduce their wage bill by €200million in order to do so.

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Exceeding La Liga’s salary limit also means new signings, including former City duo Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia, cannot be registered.

Barcelona’s crisis has put a number of Europe’s biggest clubs on high alert, with talented stars who the club would originally not want to sell potentially on the market.

Messi was linked with joining up with his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium last summer, after submitting a transfer request, and ex-City defender Howey wants to see the Premier League champions reignite their interest.

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Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Howey said: “It’d be absolutely amazing and I’d love to see him week in, week out.

“It would be a big test for him. La Liga is a very good league but it isn’t the Premier League. I still think he would absolutely light it up and I would love it if he would come to the Premier League.”