PEP Guardiola will surely be asking Manchester City’s oil-sheik owners to dip into their very deep pockets after reports surfaced that Lionel Messi will not sign a new contract with Barcelona.
Spanish daily Marca has claimed that the Argentine star told president Josep Bartomeu in the summer that his current deal, which expires on June 30 2018, would be his last.
If the talismanic forward sticks to his guns then the Catalan club will want to offload the player before then to secure the €250 million release clause etched into his deal, or at least a significant chunk of it.
There is, however, room for a change of heart. Messi’s ‘retirement’ from the Argentina squad was short-lived and the 29-year-old endured a difficult summer dominated by his tax affairs.
It may well that one of the finest players to ever lace up his boots is simply sick and tired of speculation, money and business and is enjoying keeping the club’s hierarchy on edge, simultaneously growing an epic beard.
If Messi does leave Barca, City are his best match. Managed by his former partner in success they beat the Catalans two weeks ago and have with the resources to give arguably the world’s greatest player a raise.