Barcelona reignite Lionel Messi war with Man City increasingly confident Argentina superstar still wants free transfer

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MANCHESTER CITY are back in pole position for Lionel Messi after Barcelona reopened their rift with the superstar.

The Spanish giants’ interim president Carles Tusquets claims they should have flogged the unhappy forward in the summer.

Reuters

Lionel Messi still wants to leave Barcelona after trying to force an exit last summer[/caption]

Reuters

Barca’s stand-in chief has now admitted the club should have sold Messi[/caption]

And that could open the door for City to make another move for Messi, 33, in next month’s transfer window.

SunSport understands Messi’s position has not changed since August when he tried to force his way out of the Nou Camp.

None of the prospective candidates to take over as president in January’s elections have done anything to help smooth the path to him signing a new deal.

And Tusquets has effectively heaped some of the blame on Messi for the club’s dire financial situation which forced them to agree to defer wages of the squad this season to save as much as £155million next month.

Messi’s staggering £54MILLION-a-year wages are a huge pressure on Barca’s accounts and Tusquets says the club should have sold him at the start of the season when they had the chance.

He said: “From an economic point of view, I would have sold Messi in the summer.

“It would have been desirable for the money we would have received, and for what we would have saved.

On the wage deferral, Tusquets added : “The agreement we currently have allows us to finish the season without cash flow problems. This season is saved.”

Messi’s deal runs out at the end of June and Barca now face having to decide whether to sell him for a reduced fee in January to at least get something for him.

It would also save them £27m in wages, a figure which would help go a long way to easing the pressures on their balance sheets.

The Spanish giants announce losses of £88m in their annual accounts in October, and with the Coronavirus pandemic continuing to bite hard they are faced with having to sell players to reduce overheads.


City have hardly hidden their admiration of Messi, who has been a long-standing target for the club.

And with Pep Guardiola committing himself to another two years in charge at the Etihad it is thought that would be a major boost to their chances of tempting him to the Premier League.

Juventus and Inter have also shown an interest, but realistically it is only City and PSG who could provide the sporting and financial ambition to be able to get a deal done.



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