It says a lot when Manchester City have more players out on international duty than their bitter rival Manchester United. Currently, Pep Guardiola’s squad is full of international players, with sixteen City footballers currently touring the globe with their respective home teams. City are a diverse team with players from all around the globe, and currently on red alert for Lionel Messi, it doesn’t look like this is about to change any time soon. According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Messi told Barcelona FC back in July that he did not want to sign a contract extension as he hopes to keep his options open. If Messi does not choose to renew his contract, Manchester City are expected to be amongst the first to put in for a transfer.
According to Marca, Manchester City are the club which are the most likely to acquire the services of the man who is currently widely known as the best football player in the world. The Argentinian’s contract with the Spanish team will come to an end in eighteen months’ time, and City are reportedly confident that they will be ahead of the queue for Messi if he does choose not to renew his contract, making him available for a free transfer. Download the Paddy Power app to keep up to date with the latest odds on both Manchester City and Barcelona.
Why Might Messi Leave?
There are many different factors which could have influenced Lionel Messi’s rumoured decision to leave his options open, rather than continue playing for Barcelona once his contract has ended. Marca claim that the superstar made his decision over the summer after becoming disillusioned with the way in which the Spanish authorities have pursued him over tax. In July, the sports superstar and his father were both sentenced to 21 months in jail for three separate counts of fraud, although neither will need to serve their sentence. Joan Laporta, former president of Barcelona, also claims that there are conspirators within the club who are trying to push Messi out. For City, this is great news, as the club have always held to their stance that Messi will favour them as his next destination should he leave Barca.
Are Plans in Place?
According to the Manchester Evening News, Pep Guardiola dropped hints last month which appeared to be inviting the Argentinian player to see out the rest of his career at Manchester City. Although he made it clear in his statement that he wants the Argentinian to remain at Barcelona and start and end his career at the same club, he interestingly added: ‘But maybe he wants to go somewhere else, maybe he wants his kids to learn English’. Although Messi will have a wide choice of both English and European clubs to play for if he does choose to leave Barcelona, Manchester City does seem like the obvious choice, as Messi has a lot of strong relationships with the players and Pep Guardiola, who was once his mentor.
According to sources, the Argentine superstar has already rejected a new deal with Barcelona and has refused to attend meetings regarding continuing his contract. Change seems imminent for the 29-year-old, who has endured a turbulent past year. Left heartbroken in the Copa America final as Chile beat Argentina and then announcing his international retirement, Messi then had to deal with the whole shock of the tax evasion case. But, he has since returned to action with Argentina, a move which might offer a clue to how he is going to decide when it comes to signing a new deal with Barcelona.
Do you think Messi should leave Barca for City? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.