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Lionel Messi likely to join Manchester City rather than stay at Barcelona or join PSG - Reports

Pep Guardiola during the Everton v Manchester City - Premier League
Pep Guardiola during the Everton v Manchester City - Premier League
Varun Totadri
ANALYST
Modified 19 Feb 2021
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Lionel Messi is reportedly closer to joining Premier League giants Manchester City than he is to staying at Barcelona or moving to PSG. The 33-year-old's current contract with Barcelona expires at the end of the season, meaning he may begin negotiations with potential suitors shortly.

According to Madrid correspondent Sergio Gonzales, Lionel Messi is likely to reunite with former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola at Manchester City this summer.

The Argentine was desperate to leave Barcelona last summer after the club endured a horrendous end to their 2019-20 campaign. The Spanish giants failed to win a trophy and suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Lionel Messi reportedly had many vocal outbursts against the Barcelona hierarchy over the summer. The superstar was infuriated after the club decided to sell veteran striker and close friend Luis Suarez to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.

Messi was, however, unable to secure a move away from the club due to his mammoth €700 million release clause. He was forced to stay at Barcelona for the 2020-21 season and see out the remainder of his contract, which is set to expire at the end of the campaign.

Lionel Messi and Barcelona had a poor start to the 2020-21 season but have been in impressive form in recent weeks. Despite losing 4-1 to PSG in the Champions League earlier this week, Barcelona have shown signs of improvement under Ronald Koeman in the last couple of months.

Sources within the club believe Lionel Messi will extend his current deal with Barcelona, and help the club during their transition phase under Koeman. The latest reports, however, suggest that Messi is still eager to leave Barcelona, with Manchester City being tipped as his preferred destination.

The Cityzens were heavily linked with a move for Messi last summer, but were put off by his enormous release clause.

Lionel Messi's potential move to Manchester City can only happen if he takes a wage cut

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FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One
FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One

It is hard to imagine that Manchester City will be able to afford Lionel Messi's existing wage bill during the current financial climate. Messi is currently the highest-earning footballer in the world, and despite being available on a free transfer in the summer, it will cost clubs a large sum of money to pay his wages.

Lionel Messi will have to take a wage cut in order to force a move to the Premier League with Manchester City. The current Premier League leaders will also have to part ways with multiple players to create room in the squad for Messi and his wages.

Published 19 Feb 2021, 12:53 IST
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