Man City: Is Messi interested in summer move?
Lionel Messi could make a decision on his Barcelona future as early as next week after the club's next president has been decided, according to reports. The Catalan giants are preparing to elect Josep Maria Bartomeu's successor on Sunday amid a period of financial crisis at the Nou Camp, with all three candidates eager to do their best to ensure Messi stays on their books until his retirement.
However, speculation surrounding a possible move away has failed to subside after the winger's highly-publicised feud with the club during pre-season.
Messi informed the powers that be that he was looking to depart ahead of the upcoming campaign, but his wish was denied which caused the situation to descend into a messy spat between himself and Bartomeu.
The 33-year-old eventually relented and decided to stay, but did not rule out the prospect of an exit at the end of the season.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have emerged as the two front runners for his signature, with both sides offering the promise of a monumental salary and the chance to fight for domestic and European silverware.
The two clubs have been forced to spend the season with a distinct lack of conclusive updates on the saga, but it seems as though Messi's future could finally be settled in the coming weeks.
Messi could make a decision on his future very soon
He is set to engage in crunch talks with Barca's new president next week, which will be followed by a decision on whether to stay or follow through with his plan to leave, according to The Telegraph.
Joan Laporta, who is standing for election, claimed in December that Messi would be unlikely to remain at the club unless he is voted in.
"I have a great relationship with Leo and he will consider whatever proposal I make," he said in a debate with fellow candidates.
"If I don't win, I am sure that Leo will not stay at Barcelona. Messi will weigh up the offer we make him.”
The mercurial forward is able to negotiate a free transfer with European clubs outside of Spain ahead of the new season, with his current contract set to expire in the summer.
City have insisted that no offer has been made and that they are yet to engage in formal talks with his representatives, but are likely to be keeping a close eye on the situation.
A move to Manchester would provide Messi with the chance to reunite with former boss Pep Guardiola, who managed what was arguably Barca's greatest ever side between 2008 and 2012.
The pair have maintained a close relationship ever since the Spaniard's departure, with Messi revealing his admiration for the City head coach in an interview just before the turn of the year.
"I don't know when I last got a message from Pep, but we have spoken, yes," he told Spanish channel La Sexta TV.
"About how things are, how he's doing at Manchester City, how things are going here. For me, he's the best coach."
If Messi decides to snub City and join PSG, he would feature in a formidable attacking trident alongside former team-mate Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who has been backed to succeed the Argentine as the world's best player in years to come.
Neymar has previously urged Messi to make the switch to the French capital, stressing that he would like nothing more than a reunion next season.
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