Barcelona senior officials reportedly expect Lionel Messi to join Manchester City, as the Catalan giants prepare for life without their greatest ever player.
The 33-year-old looks set to wave goodbye to Camp Nou after two decades at the club, and he is being widely tipped for a switch to Premier League heavyweights Man City, according to 90min.com.
The Citizens are one of only a handful of clubs that can afford to take on the financial implications of signing the Argentine superstar, and his connections to ex-coach Pep Guardiola make this reunion more and more likely.
And The Telegraph reports that this partnership may indeed be rekindled, as it is believed that senior figures within the Barcelona camp now expect Messi to join Man City in the summer, as the forward continues to distance himself from his current club.
The Sky Blues have shown great interest in the Blaugrana star since he announced his intention to leave La Liga, and Barca are expecting the English side to be successful in their advances. Messi was hoping to leave los Cules on a free transfer, but that possibility is waning somewhat, with the Citizens now expected to require a hefty fee to pull off this incredible deal.
Messi’s contract contains a termination clause which allows him to walk away at the end of the season, as long as he activates it before 31 May. But the campaign’s elongation into August, due to the coronavirus outbreak, means he has missed his window of opportunity to activate the clause, and he is now resigned to waiting for a bidder.
Messi has one year remaining on his current contract, which holds a release clause of €700m (£624m). Barcelona’s current precarious financial situation means that losing their club icon without a fee would be catastrophic, and any hopes of a revolution or a rebuild would certainly be dashed.
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By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa