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SBD Global/August 22, 2017/International Football

Man City Meets With Messi's Representatives To Discuss Potential Move

Man City met with Lionel Messi's representatives to "discuss the possibility" of bringing the Argentine int'l to the Premier League, according to Duncan Castles of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Their meeting -- held in a Barcelona restaurant last week -- "comes amidst the former World Player of the Year's growing dissatisfaction" with the state of Barça's squad following the sale of teammate and friend Neymar. Messi and Barcelona agreed to a new contract last month. However, the deal was announced before it had been signed, and more than six weeks since Barça's press release, "it has yet to be formalised." Man City's interest in Messi is a "long standing one," with the club's Abu Dhabi ownership and its ex-Barcelona management "making it clear to the Argentine that he has an open invitation to work with Pep Guardiola in England." The club wants to bring in a forward before the current transfer window closes and is understood to be "prepared to use Messi's release clause to sign him this month if the possibility presents itself." With less than two weeks remaining in the current window and Messi known for his "hesitancy over committing to such decisions," a "more realistic and economic option" than paying the buyout this summer would be to prepare the groundwork on a pre-contract agreement that would take Messi to Man City on a free transfer ahead of the '18-19 campaign. According to Barcelona sources, Messi "is seriously considering leaving. He is open to a move, but knowing the player it will take him a while to decide" (DAILY RECORD, 8/21). 90MIN's Jude Summerfield reported Man City is "willing to pay" Messi's €300M ($354.4M) release clause. Messi would reportedly "demand a starting spot" under Manager Guardiola. The "chance of joining another European heavyweight could be appealing to Messi," who became "one of the best players in the world" under Guardiola during the manager's time at Barcelona (90MIN, 8/20).
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