Man City 'Already Negotiating With Lionel Messi's Father' - Willing to Pay Over €100m

Ross Kennerley
Messi wants to leave Barcelona - but where to?
Messi wants to leave Barcelona - but where to? / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Although contact is imminent, conflicting reports offer varied dates on when Lionel Messi and his family will meet with Manchester City, according to the latest (seemingly) minute-by-minute updates on the player's future.

Football was stunned into silence earlier this week - though some overambitious non-League sides saw the opportunity to try their luck with social media invites - when the news broke that Messi had informed Barcelona of his desire to leave this summer. A lack of belief in the sporting project and a broken relationship with those that run the club are among key reasons why.

Of course, it's led to a host of football's big boys getting linked to the Argentinian, because there's only a small group of clubs that can afford him. City are one.

Several reports, including RAC1 and TyC Sports (via the Daily Mail) claim that Jorge, Messi's father, is already in Manchester to discuss the terms of an agreement. He touched down in the city on Wednesday, to begin discussions about a sensational reunion with former boss Pep Guardiola. The deal in question would be a two-year contract.

In classic transfer saga style, those reports have been shot down elsewhere, as Diario Ole state that Jorge Messi is currently in his native Argentina, with a delegation from City to be sent to Catalonia 'next week' to meet with his whole family and discuss a potential deal. That deal could involve Gabriel Jesus as a makeweight.

ESPN, on the other, elaborate on what deal City may use to lure Messi to England, reporting that they are open to offering the 33-year-old a three-year deal to play in the Premier League, with clause allowing him to enjoy the remainder of his career with New York City in MLS at the end of the term.

The MLS side, like the Cityzens, are owned by holding company City Football Group, with it thought that Messi would also be offered the chance to be an ambassador in the group.

City also hope to be able to sign Messi on a free transfer, though they won't learn whether this is possible until matters are settled between player and club. A separate report from ESPN suggested on Wednesday that they could pay between €100m and €150m if they must pay a fee, while Barcelona targets Eric Garcia and Angelino could be thrown in as exchange options.

It is hoped, from the forward's side, that he can leave Barça for nothing, due to a clause inserted into his yearly renewal - it states that he may leave for free at the end of each season before June. La Blaugrana argue this date has passed, while Messi's legal team claim that this is still valid given the extension brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Journalist Veronica Brunati adds that Paris Saint-Germain are also interested despite French reports earlier in the day ruling them out, while sources around Manchester United suggest they aren't interested.

In light of Messi's decision, public backing from former teammate Carles Puyol, as well as soon-to-be former teammate Luis Suarez, has added to the media circus. The South American duo are close friends off the pitch, and Mundo Deportivo claim that the treatment of the Uruguayan by the club was the hair that broke the camel's back in regards to him submitting in a transfer request.

The pair spent the weekend together following he 8-2 demolition by Bayern Munich, with Ronald Koeman's phone call to Suarez confirming he is no longer in his plans coming on Monday. No surprise then, that just 24 hours later, Messi had made up his mind.

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