MANCHESTER CITY chiefs are reportedly weighing up whether they could find a way to sign Lionel Messi this summer.
The Barcelona superstar has indicated that he may decide to leave Camp Nou, if he concludes that he can’t win the game’s biggest trophies there in the remainder of his peak.
And City bosses are looking into whether they could feasibly pounce to sign the 33-year-old within the rules of Financial Fair Play.
While Barca have so far indicated that they would demand his £631million release clause to be paid in full in order to let him go, ESPN report that City chiefs are looking into the numbers that would be involved, should the Catalan giants’ stance soften.
Some Barca board members are also said to be open to selling their Argentine talisman, should it allow them to reinvest in the rest of their team.
Messi last week met with new coach Ronald Koeman, amid his frustration at their recent Champions League exits at the hands of AS Roma, Liverpool and worst of all Bayern Munich.
And with just a year remaining on his contract, his future hangs in the balance.
Financial experts believe that the deal would be impossible to do, however, given the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic.
But City will leave no stone unturned – even given the scrutiny they are under following their triumph over Uefa in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Meanwhile, Barcelona wait nervously as Messi continues to remain silent publicly in the wake of his side’s 8-2 humbling by Bayern.
While he has also appeared settled with his family in the city, for the first time he appears to genuinely be considering an exit.
City supremo Khaldoon Al Mubarak today said: “I think you’ve seen when it comes to the two acquisitions we have made, Ake and Ferran Torres.
“We moved quickly, we knew the players clearly, these were our targets and when the opportunity came, we were able to come in very quickly and swiftly and do that business.
“There are additional players we will be bringing in and we will stick to the plan obviously within the realities of the market that we live in today.”
Another option for Messi, should he decide to leave Barcelona, could be Paris Saint-Germain – with boss Thomas Tuchel having admitted that he’d be “very welcome”.
The German, 46, said: “He’s very welcome. What coach says no to Messi?”
But he also conceded that he doubts he’ll actually leave Barcelona, continuing: “I think Messi finishes his career in Barcelona. He’s Mr Barcelona.”