Manchester City 'Optimistic' Of Signing Lionel Messi, Have Been Working On A Deal For Over A Week
City have been instilled as red-hot favourites for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and a fresh report from Paul Hirst and Martyn Ziegler in The Times says the club have been working for more than a week to sign him.
While not a straightforward deal to pull off, especially given he and Barca have different views on whether he is able to refer to the expired clause in his contract that allowed him to leave for free at the end of every season, there's confidence it can be done according to a City source who spoke to the newspaper.
Ferran Soriano, City's chief executive who used to work for Barcelona, believes they have the financial capacity to make it happen - although a number of different arrangements are being explored.
In an ideal world City would get the 33-year-old on a free transfer, though it is complex and would likely depend on a court battle between Messi's representatives and Barcelona.
With neither City or Barcelona wanting that to happen, it's said a 'likely compromise' would be for Barcelona to accept a fee of around €100 million - the same amount that Juventus paid to land a 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo - and considerably less than Messi's €700 million release clause.
More Like ThisMore Like This
We could even see a player-plus-cash swap deal explored. It's been well documented that Barcelona are keen on bringing City's 19-year-old defender Eric Garcia back to Catalonia and he could potentially be used as a makeweight, while the names of both Angelino and Gabriel Jesus have also been mentioned.
There's talk that City are looking to seal a "more creative deal" whereby Messi is owned by the City Football Group that contains clubs in United States, Australia, India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China and Belgium.
A report from ESPN states Messi could be offered a deal that would see him play in the Premier League for three seasons before joining sister club New York City and becoming a CFG ambassador.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail say that if City did sign Messi, they would have the option of introducing 'Messi tax' - essentially asking for extra cash of current global and regional partners in return for Barcelona's record goalscorer being part of the branding.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read