Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has been linked with making a £100m bid to try and prise Lionel Messi away from Barcelona as further doubts emerge over his new contract.
The 29-year-old has 18 months left to run on his current deal, and there have been concerns for some time over his long-term future with the Catalan giants.
Barca CEO Oscar Grau has raised the anxiety levels of all concerned at the club tenfold with his latest comments, as he’s suggested that although he is confident a deal can be reached, the club are restricted in what terms they can offer due to financial limitations.
“We have to be very strict with the budgets, we can’t go crazy,” he is quoted as saying by The Sun.
“We need to comply with the ratios of debt and the percentage of salaries in the budget. I want the best player in history to remain here. We will find the way, I am sure, but we have to make the numbers add up.”
The report claims that Manchester United could also be monitoring the situation, but it is a possible reunion with Guardiola at City that seems the most likely scenario at this stage if Messi were to leave the Spanish champions.
Details of the package that could be on the table from City have been included in the report, with claims that they are willing to splash out £100m on a transfer fee and give Messi a contract worth a staggering £800,000-a-week over five years.
The financial incentives for both Barca and Messi are seemingly there, however, sentiment is likely to play a major role in this situation as the Argentine international will surely not want to leave the club that he’s been with since 2001.
Having collected countless trophies, both individual and collective, and broken numerous records, it will be difficult to see Messi in anything other than a Barca shirt moving forward. However, unless a compromise can be reached between the two parties, City may well fancy their chances of prising him away.