Manchester City are willing to spend a staggering £100m to sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to The Sun.
What’s the story?
Following a disappointing few days for City manager Pep Guardiola, rumours have emerged that he could be targeting his former player and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.
Widely regarded as one of the best footballers in the modern game, the Argentina international’s long-term future at the Camp Nou is uncertain due to the player yet to agree fresh terms with the Spanish giants.
Now, The Sun has claimed that officials from both Barca and City met last month to discuss a potential deal, with the two-time Premier League champions insisting that they would pay a world-record £100m to sign Messi.
No formal bid has been tabled, but the British newspaper reports that City feel encouraged by the talks due to Barcelona’s willingness to sit down with them.
It is believed that Messi would be handed a salary worth a whopping £800,000 per week.
Could this transfer actually happen?
This is not the first time that Messi has been linked with a big-money move to the Premier League, and it is unlikely to be the last.
The 29-year-old’s relationship with Guardiola makes him an obvious link to the Etihad Stadium, but whether he would uproot from the Catalan city to play under the Spaniard again remains to be seen.
Guardiola coached Messi during his four-year spell in charge of Barcelona, and the pair won 14 trophies in that time, including three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies.
The timing of this transfer rumour is rather suspect considering that the prolific forward is in the middle of contract talks with Barcelona.
Messi’s current deal expires at the end of next season, and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently tried to calm speculation by telling Esport3 that their star player wants to stay.
Only a few clubs in the world could afford Messi, and City are one of them, but more often than not, rumours such as this are used as bargaining tools for a better contract.