Man City ‘crunching the numbers’ as they ponder sensational Messi transfer swoop

Manchester City are reportedly exploring the possibility of a sensational swoop for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

The Sky Blues are keeping a close eye on the Argentina forward's availability amid a period of upheaval at Camp Nou.

Barcelona endured a dire season under managers Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien, which ended in an 8-2 hammering in the Champions League as they slumped to their first trophyless campaign since 2008.

The result led to the sacking of Setien and his replacement by Ronald Koeman, and the future of many of Barcelona's stars are up in the air under the new management.

City know any deal to try and prise Messi from Catalonia would be very complicated. But they are weighing up how feasible it would be to table a bid without breaching Financial Fair Play regulations if Barcelona were willing to sell, according to ESPN .

As it stands, Barca's official stance is that Messi is not available, and he is protected by a €700million (£632million) release clause.

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But certain members of the board are believed to be willing to part ways with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner if he pushes for a transfer away and if the funds are reinvested into the team.

Messi has one year remaining on his current deal and he met with Koeman last week to discuss his future.

The 33-year-old is desparate to win the Champions League again and promised Barcelona fans he would bring the trophy back to Camp Nou two years ago.

But if the club cannot match his ambitions he is willing to leave and this season's finalists Paris Saint-Germain are among the interested parties.

Manager Thomas Tuchel said Messi would be "very welcome" to move to Parc des Princes, while City have been perpetually linked with a move thanks to his history with manager Pep Guardiola, with whom he won two Champions Leagues.

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