Should any club able to tempt Lionel Messi to move to the Premier League, Manchester City is confident that they will be the top choice.
City owners believe that working for Pep Guardiola once more is reason enough for the Argentinian to make a transfer, with the club’s senior executives having inquired about the Argentinian.
Txiki Begiristain, City’s sporting director, and Ferran Soriano, the chief executive, also worked closely with Messi when in similar positions at Barcelona. Soriano, in particular, is thought to be close to Messi and his family.
However, it is doubtful if Messi would ever want to leave the Catalonians. Having won the treble with his boyhood club last year, Messi had gone on to win his fifth Ballon D’or, numerous other honours and enjoys a close relationship with his fellow forwards, Luis Suarez and Neymar in a team that features the most coveted forward lineup in the world.
He is also contracted with the Spanish giants until summer 2018, when he will be approaching his 30th birthday. He is thought to earn around €20m a year, or €385,000 a week, and to have a buyout clause of €250m.
Meanwhile, City would closely monitor the 28-year-old ace should he become unsettled, largely due to a tax issue in which he and his father, Jorge, are accused of defrauding the Spanish state of €4.2m (£3.3m) between 2007 and 2009, with a court hearing dated on the 31st of May.
Lionel Messi and his father had since deny wrongdoing and paid €5m in 2013 as a corrective measure, amounting to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest.
But Guardiola was also a factor against the move. Since joining Bayern Munich in June 2013 following a year’s sabbatical after leaving Barcelona, he was reluctant to make a move for any of his former players. In his three seasons with the Bundesliga champions, only Thiago Alcântara joined him from Barca.