Is ‘Operation Messi’ underway? According to reputable Spanish radio station Cadena COPE, Pep Guardiola has made former charge Lionel Messi his number one priority at Manchester City.
COPE is reporting tonight that Pep has instructed CEO Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain, both of whom worked with Guardiola and Messi at Barcelona, to make convincing 29-year-old Messi to join City their top priority in the coming months.
Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror reported at weekend that City’s confidence of striking a deal for Messi has ‘exploded’ recently, and that they had drawn up a plan to sign him, that would include a world record transfer fee and a basic wage of £500,000 per week.
This second report from Cadena COPE adds fuel to the fire of City acquiring a long-term target and one who had seemed impossible to sign. COPE reports that Barcelona are not in great financial shape, despite the acquisition of Rakuten as a sponsor in recent days, and that Messi has not forgotten the ‘brutal persecution’ he’s received in Spain over a tax scandal.
City are aware of the massive contracts Barça have handed out to Neymar, Busquets, Mascherano, with Luis Suárez, Rakitic, Ter Stegen and Andrés Iniesta also expecting or needing new contracts. City believe that even with the new money from Rakuten, Barcelona have financial issues and much of the income will go towards Neymar’s €25 million a year salary.
City have not yet communicated their intentions to Barcelona, Messi or his entourage, but are ‘working quietly’ on plans to sign the Argentine superstar. And according to COPE, unless Barcelona show Messi there is no better club to continue his career at and increase his salary significantly, a move to Manchester City could be realistic.