The captain is “is still clear that he wants to go and play at Manchester City,” and the Citizens are “working on a very important offer to convince Messi” to swap the Camp Nou for the Etihad Stadium.
The resignation of Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has not affected Messi’s thinking, and the captain is “clear his time at Barça has come to an end.”
The Argentine informed the club last summer he wanted to leave before the start of the 2020-21 campaign but could not find a way out. He told Goal’s Ruben Uria that Bartomeu “did not keep his word” about letting him decide his future and explained he would stay because he did not want to end up in court.
Certainly Messi does not appear too happy with life at Barca currently. As reported by Mundo Deportivo, the captain told reporters at Barcelona airport on Wednesday he was, “tired of always being the problem of everything at the club.”
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Messi to Manchester City?
Manchester City were favorites to land Messi in the summer not least because former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola is in charge of the club. The Citizens announced on Thursday that Guardiola has signed a new two-year deal with the Premier League side.
Guardiola will now continue as manager until 2023, ending uncertainty over his future at the club and likely fuelling speculation about a Messi move. The coach has previously spoken about the possibility of Messi joining Manchester City but has insisted he wants him to stay in Spain. As reported by Sky Sports he said, “my wish is that Messi is going to stay at Barcelona.”
Yet if Barca can’t convince Messi to renew his contract he will be available to walk away for free in the summer. The availability of one of the game’s greatest ever players would surely interest most top clubs, but Guardiola’s bond with Messi may put the Citizens in pole position for his signature.
Can Barca Convince Messi to Stay?
Messi’s future at Barca is likely to be determined by events on and off the pitch at the Camp Nou between now and the end of the season. Much may depend on how Ronald Koeman’s side fare in La Liga and in the Champions League in 2020-21.
The identity of the club’s next president may also be key. Barca will hold elections at the end of January and will appoint Bartomeu’s replacement. One of the new chief’s top priorities will be to try to convince Messi to sign a new deal.
Yet Messi will be able to talk to other clubs before then. As he is in the final year of his contract he can enter negotiations from the start of January, meaning the Catalan giants really have their work cut out if they are to convince their captain to continue his career at the club he joined as a 13-year-old.