Barcelona are reportedly expecting Lionel Messi to join Manchester City next summer, but Pep Guardiola’s men are ready to go after the Argentine in January.
The 33-year-old has spent his entire career at Barca after joining their youth academy as a young child.
He has gone on to play 735 matches in all competitions for the Catalan side, scoring an incredible 635 goals.
Messi has also lifted 34 major trophies during his time with the club. That includes 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
However, after summer of transition in which Messi handed in a transfer request before stating that he would stay at the club, the player’s long-term future remains in the balance.
And now the Daily Mirror claims that Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman fears Messi will move to The Etihad next summer.
Koeman has been delighted with Messi’s response since deciding to stay. But he’s already accepted that he’ll not get to work with the player beyond the current season.
Due to a contract clause in Messi’s deal, the attacker is able to leave Barcelona for free. That is if he activates it before the end of a season – something he failed to do last term.
However, City suspect that Messi will not make the same mistake again . They will offer £15m at the mid-way point to bring Messi to the Premier League half a season earlier.
Pep leaps to Aguero defence
Pep Guardiola has defended Sergio Aguero after he was criticised for putting his arm on the shoulder of assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during Man City’s win over Arsenal.
After arguing his case with Massey-Ellis, Aguero then put his arm around her shoulder as she began to walk away.
Those actions drew attention on social media. They also led his former team-mate Micah Richards to claim that Aguero should “know better”.
Under rules introduced in 2016 players can be cautioned or sent off for touching match officials, depending on the nature of the incident. But Aguero’s actions went unpunished.
In his post-match press conference, Guardiola said: “Come on guys. Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life.
“Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.”