Manchester City are said to believe that they have a chance of signing Lionel Messi this summer after the Argentinean star demanded to be allowed to leave Barcelona.
Messi, 33, made his intentions clear to Barca chiefs via fax on Tuesday, when he told them that he wished to be allowed to exercise a clause in his contract that allowed him to walk away from the club for free.
The attacker is said to have grown weary of the trials and tribulations at Barca, who suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League earlier this month and responded by removing manager Quique Setien and sporting director Eric Abidal from their roles.
Ronald Koeman, the former Southampton and Everton manager, has been headhunted from his role with the Dutch national team to replace Setien, but the former Barca defender has entered the club at an extremely tense moment.
City are said to be keen to exploit that and reunite Messi with his former Barca manager Pep Guardiola, with the Guardian claiming that they believe they have everything in place to pull off the move.
Any deal would reportedly hinge on City getting Messi on a free transfer or for a relatively low fee, meaning they could then lavish him with huge wages.
Messi's camp believe that the forward is entitled to walk away on a free transfer this summer, although Barca feel as though the deadline for him to trigger than clause has already passed, with the issue complicated by the coronavirus crisis.
They feel that in order to leave the club, Messi or the club signing him would have pay his full £628m release clause.
City chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain – both former Barca employees – will be hoping Messi's camp win their battle over the contract clause, which could then allow City to pounce.
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