Manchester City will likely make Messi an offer of becoming City Football Group’s Ambassador, the holding company that owns several clubs globally, including NYCFC and Man City.
“According to sources, Manchester City is considering a long-term contract for Lionel Messi that would see him join MLS partner club New York City after three years in the Premier League.”
33 years old Lionel Messi would be able to help City win, for the first time in history, the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history before hanging up his boots in the United States.
Man city has emerged as the favorites to sign Messi after he shocked Barcelona by telling them he wants to leave on Tuesday. ESPN revealed on Monday that City was already looking into whether a deal for Argentina forward would be financially viable.
Manchester City will do everything within their power to pursue the option of signing Messi on a free transfer. Sources believe that if unilaterally, he is not able to force an exit, they would consider the possibility of paying between €100 million and 150 million.
The same sources added that Man City could also include players in any potential deal, such as Eric Garcia and Angelino. Reports from ESPN also show that Messi has consulted several legal experts regarding the NYCFC clause in his contract but hasn’t been able to gauge a clear understanding of the situation. Since many sources that are close to the operation expect a scenario where both sides to reach an agreement assuming Messi follows through with his threat to leave, the issue could end up in court. The deal would involve Barca offering a reasonable fee to allow Lionel Messi to leave the club, which could also be invested in helping Ronald Koeman rebuild his team. Other sources have told ESPN that last week, City coach Pep Guardiola had a talk with Lionel Messi explaining the project he would be involved in when he gets to the Etihad Stadium.
Lionel Messi has since taken the first step toward leaving Camp Nou, and City is closely keeping tabs on the happenings, albeit with the acknowledgment that any deal hereof will have to be done without going against UEFA’s financial fair play rules.
Ramon Planes said, “There is no internal division on this at all. Anyone that understands a little bit about football wants to have Leo in their team.”
Therefore, it will be crucial to know if Man City will have to debate a fee with La Liga side or Lionel Messi can leave Barca for free. Messi’s deal runs until 2021, and it also includes a €700 million release clause. Messi, however, hopes to execute a clause that would grant him a free passage out. It was included in his 2017 renewal and stipulated that he is allowed, at the end of each season, to leave for free if he notifies the club within a specific time frame. Barca maintains that the window to use the clause has expired, but Messi’s legal team argues that it is still valid due to the extension to the season as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Credible sources confirmed to ESPN that Messi plans to report Barca preseason when players are expected to have a Covid19 test before beginning training on Monday. Speaking at Francisco Trincao on Wednesday, Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes said the club would fight to convince Lionel Messi. “As we have said many times, we’re still thinking of Messi as a Barca player,” Planes said. “Barca have rebuilt themselves many times throughout history and have always bounced back stronger. Our idea is to reconstruct the best player in the world.
“There’s a tremendous amount of respect for Leo because of what he is and his story here, but we’re not thinking about any contractual clause. We can’t have a public dispute between Barca and Messi, because neither side deserves that. Messi told Barcelona he wants to leave, and this is why they should let him go. “The marriage between Messi and Barca has given both parties a lot. It has given the fans a huge amount of joy, and we have to fight for that relationship to continue. Internally, we’re working hard to convince Messi to stay. We want to find the best solution for Barca and Messi.”
Asked whether other people at the club would be open to parting with Messi, Ramon Planes added that everyone wanted the same thing.