Manchester United are hastily working on a deal to bring Lionel Messi to Old Trafford, according to a fanciful report emanating in the Spanish press.
Messi is facing new levels of uncertainty at Camp Nou after a turbulent season on and off the pitch.
On it, Barca crashed out of the Champions League for a third successive season. They were destroyed 8-2 by eventual winners Bayern Munich at the quarter-final stage.
Away from the field, however, Messi has clashed with senior club officials including president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Previous reports suggested City are willing to pay whatever it takes to bring the Argentina forward to the Etihad Stadium.
According to reports on Tuesday morning, that remains the case, with the Premier League side “crunching the numbers” of a deal.
However, Cuatro reports it is their city rivals United who are ahead of them in the chase. The Spanish outlet claims officials from United have put the machinery in motion’ to bring the 33-year-old to Old Trafford.
In the report, translated by Sport Witness, they claim United are best placed to sign the Argentine superstar. As well as City, Inter Milan and Inter Miami and Chelsea are touted as potential destinations.
But it’s claimed that it is United where Messi would prefer to sign were he to end his long association with Barca. While no transfer fee is mentioned, they state a two-year deal could be put on the table.
The report concludes by stating United are ‘on the prowl’ over the 645-goal sensation.
Koeman to rebuild Barcelona
New Barca boss Ronald Koeman faces a huge rebuilding job at Barcelona.
Furthermore, Tuesday’s Euro Paper Talk also said three other big-name stars faced the axe.
Despite doubts over a number of players, Messi is the one ageing star that Koeman is desperate to keep.
However, ESPN also report that certain members of Barcelona’s board would be open to selling Messi. That’s on the condition that the club use the money to invest in first-team development.
The player has a €700m exit clause in his contract but could leave for a fraction of that price given his age.