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Messi held talks with City's Guardiola

Messi-Guardiola talks revealed; Man City to offer Barca two players as makeweights

August 26, 2020 By Ali M.
Having handed in a Camp Nou transfer request, it is now being reported that Leo has already been in contact with Man City.

With Lionel Messi handing in a bombshell transfer request, everyone has been sent into overdrive as to where the Barcelona icon will end up next. With that in mind, it is being reported that Pep Guardiola, the coach of Man City, has already held talks with the Argentine superstar.

This is significant for two reasons. Number one, the Citizens have long been admirers of Leo and are one of the favorites to land him. The reason for this is obvious: being one of the best players in world football, only a few teams can afford La Pulga and the mega-rich Manchester giants are one of them.

The Premier League heavyweights have tried and failed to lure Messi away from Camp Nou several times before. This time, however, things are different as the Blaugrana legend has handed in an official transfer request in an attempt to force a Camp Nou exit – yes, force an exit, but more on that later.

Another reason why the reported conversation between Pep and Leo is significant is because the pair have worked together before, which could be a huge factor. The Spanish tactician was in charge of the Catalan giants from 2008 to 2012 and led the club to historical success, with Messi being at the heart of everything. Many have dreamt of a reunion but little expected it to occur at the Etihad Stadium.

As for their conversation, there are conflicting reports. Some claim Messi merely wanted to listen to what Guardiola and Co. have to offer. However, Marcelo Bechler of Esporte Interativo, the reporter who broke Neymar's Barca exit, claims Leo is set on a Man City move and communicated his desire to join the Citizens to the brilliant tactician.

"Messi wants to play for Manchester City. Treat the departure from Barcelona as something that hurts the soul, but the end of an era" 

Other reports claim he is keen on a reunion with Neymar at PSG, another club with the finances to afford the six-time Ballon d'Or winner. Regardless, the conversation he had with Guardiola cannot be taken lightly given Man City's interest.

Sadly, Leo would have to force a Camp Nou exit. The club's all-time leading scorer wants his contract rescinded as a clause in his current deal permits him to leave for free at the end of every season. However, Barcelona's rebuttal is that the clause expired on June 10. The counter argument from Messi's legal advisors is that the timeframe should be extended as the 2019/20 season ended on August 23 with the Champions League final.

Many speculate a legal battle could ensue as a result. While his current release clause is $825M, Barcelona are set to lower their asking price and demand $262M for his services. Regardless, this is an impossible fee to fork for many reasons, Messi's age being one – he's 33 – and the COVID-19 crisis being another. Nonetheless, Man City are exploring their options and according to SPORT (as per Forbes), they could include Eric Garcia and Gabriel Jesus as makeweights.

If true, this would drastically lower the asking price. Jesus has already been touted at Barcelona as a replacement for Luis Suarez, with Ronald Koeman informing the Uruguayan forward that he is not part of his plan. Garcia, on the other hand, is a promising defender who graduated from the club's famed La Masia academy. As of now, these are mere speculations that will either be confirmed or denied with time.

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