It is being reported that Manchester City are willing to smash the world transfer record to sign Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. The Argentine is currently set to be a free agent in July 2018, but Manchester City are believed to be ready to make a bid in January.
Lionel Messi and his Barcelona contract
Despite reports to the contrary, Messi has dragged his feet on signing a new deal with Barcelona. In July 2017, Barcelona announced the player had signed a contract extension with the club. Messi never signed the deal offered to him, however.
One Spanish football expert believes Barcelona released the details prematurely to help club president Josep Maria Bartomeu win favour with team supporters.
Could Lionel Messi leave Barcelona?
Messi has been at Barcelona for the last 16 years. It is very unlikely he will leave the club, but Manchester City will push to reunite the Argentine with manager Pep Guardiola. Barcelona star Andres Iniesta finally signed his new contract with Barcelona last week, ending his holdout with the club. Messi could agree his deal now that Iniesta has put pen to paper.
Lionel Messi making demands
In July 2017, Spanish journalist Eduardo Inda spoke to El Chiringuito TV. He gave some interesting details about Messi’s contract demands.
“Messi is starting to get pissed off and has told Barcelona that if they do not accede to his requests, he is going to China in 2018 for free,” Inda said.
According to Inda, a Chinese club had offered €100 million to sign Messi. However, that figure has been blown out of the water this week, as Manchester City are believed to have €400m ready to spend on Messi.
Inda stated Messi’s demands for a new Barcelona contract were:
- replace coach Luis Enrique (which the team did),
- the club were to sell Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer, Lucas Digne and Jeremy Mathieu (Mathieu was the only one to leave the Barcelona during the offseason. The club terminated his contract.) due to poor effort shown and not being up to Barcelona’s level of play, and
his final demand was the club needed to make “impact” signings.
Barcelona continues to tell fans that Messi will sign his new deal shortly. However, Manchester City hope to bring him to the Etihad in the next transfer window. Inda stated previously that Messi and spoken to Guardiola during the offseason about returning to Camp Nou. Could the manager have convinced Messi to join him in Manchester?