Manchester City continue to be linked with a move for Lionel Messi next summer but Pep Guardiola has come out to clarify the club's stance on the rumours.
The City manager insisted that the power to make decisions is not in his hands and maintained that he does not discuss players who are currently at other clubs.
Speaking on the transfer speculation, Guardiola said:
"He's a player for another club, I'm sorry. I always try to answer questions, but it's a player from Barcelona. About the transfer market, you know my opinion, it's about Txiki.''
“I don't like to talk about players who are not here. The best way is to talk about this behind the scenes. My comments will not solve or break a deal, especially with players who are not here. I respect all who play for other teams,” the Manchester City manager said.
Lionel Messi sent shockwaves around the world when he submitted a transfer request to Barcelona in August of last year, citing several reasons for his decision to end his 20-year association with the Catalans.
Manchester City were touted as the favorites to land the Argentina international. The presence of several familiar faces at the Etihad, including Pep Guardiola, and club executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain has seemingly strengthened the club's stand. The trio have all served at FC Barcelona in the past.
Messi blossomed into a world-beater under the tutelage of Guardiola and together, the pair inspired Barcelona to new heights.
The 49-year-old manager has expressed his admiration for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner on several occasions. It is widely believed that a reunion could be on the cards at some point in the future.
What is the possibility of Lionel Messi signing for Manchester City?
Although Lionel Messi ultimately rescinded his decision, it is widely expected that he will leave Camp Nou next summer.
Manchester City are undoubtedly among the favorites to sign him but several factors will have to be considered before the move can be sanctioned.
The absence of a transfer fee will give Messi the advantage in contract negotiations. His high profile also means that he would command huge remuneration, despite his advanced years.
This is, of course, not a problem for Manchester City, although the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic mean that they may not be in a position to afford such financial outlay.
There will also be the problem of tactical adaptation to worry about, as Kevin de Bruyne currently operates in Lionel Messi's preferred role. However, given Guardiola's penchant for tactical innovations, it will not be beyond the wily Catalan to find a way around this problem.Published 10 Jan 2021, 17:58 IST