Lionel Messi has chosen Manchester City as the club he wants to play for next, after telling Barcelona that he intends to leave the club after almost 20 years.
According to Marcelo Bechler, the journalist who first broke the news of Messi’s desire to leave this summer, the Argentine has identified Pep Guardiola’s project at Man City as his next destination.
Bechler is considered a reliable source in matter relating to Barcelona, and was also the first reporter to break the news that Neymar would leave the club for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
Messi quer jogar no Manchester City. Trata a saída do Barcelona como algo que dói na alma, mas o fim de um ciclo pic.twitter.com/FVMPDvB7Go
— Marcelo Bechler (@marcelobechler) August 26, 2020
It was ultimately the arrival of Neymar that confirmed PSG truly intended to mingle with the elite, with the Brazilian infamously signed from Barcelona in a deal worth a world-record €222 million (£200m/$263m). This was rapidly followed up with another big move, this time for Kylian Mbappe, who continues to be heralded as the game’s next iconic figure.
Between them, the pair successfully elevated PSG to within a whisker of a first European Cup, but in order to take that final step, it may be time for sporting director Leonardo and the board to reassess their approach to transfer dealings.
Messi is now dangling temptingly in front of their noses, but while he might prove marketing gold for the Parc des Princes club, the 33-year-old is not the solution who will solve the Parisians’ long-standing problems. To solve those, they must resist arguably the greatest player the game has ever seen and instead look for inspiration from the Allianz Arena.
For a long period during the 1990s, Bayern were known as ‘FC Hollywood’ due to the drama that followed their superstar players off the field, resulting in trophyless seasons on it. Although PSG’s financial advantage over their domestic rivals means they continually dominate in France, they have similar issues to that Bayern generation.
According to Bechler, Messi and his former manager have already been in contact regarding the move, and it is understood – understandably – that City are prepared to do all they can to make the deal happen.
Messi is understood to be attracted by the City project and the attractive and intricate style of football they play.
Bechler says that there remains no clear information on what sort of fee Messi might command, due to the level of disagreement between player and club over whether his annual clause which allows him to leave for free at a certain point has expired.
That clause, which expires after the Champions League final every year, expired in June 2020 according to Barcelona. But, from Messi’s point of view, the postponement of the season due to coronavirus and the subsequent extension means that the expiry of the clause was also extended.