Manchester City are willing to let go of the likes of Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez if it means Lionel Messi can join the club, according to a report.
Messi is facing unprecedented uncertainty at Barcelona, having told the club on Tuesday that he wants to leave.
As such, speculation has heightened about where his future lies. Inter Milan are reportedly keen – among others – but it is City who supposedly lead the race for his signature.
City boss Pep Guardiola has called Messi to gauge his mood. Indeed, The Times claims Guardiola also told the forward that if he is in fact to leave Barca, he will make the Argentine a firm target.
City would ideally like a transfer to be free, which would leave them to pay his £90million yearly salary.
However, the Spanish outlet claims that if both sides need to enter negotiations, City have a plan to tempt Barca and Messi.
Guardiola is willing to see Silva and Mahrez, as well as Eric Garcia, Angelino and Gabriel Jesus go, should the need arise.
CITY WILLING TO AXE FIVE
Jesus was the first to move to Manchester out of the quintet, signing in 2016. However, he has often struggled to find consistent form due to Sergio Aguero’s dominance.
Indeed, reports claim new Barca boss Ronald Koeman wants the Brazilian as a replacement for Luis Suarez.
Garcia, who moved to City in 2017 from Barcelona’s academy, was already likely to go. Guardiola confirmed earlier this month that he has rejected a new contract.
Silva also signed at the Etihad Stadium in 2017 from Monaco and proved instrumental in City’s two recent Premier League title wins.
Mahrez has also played a crucial role, City sealing a deal for the Algerian last summer. Angelino, meanwhile, re-signed after the club activated a buy-back clause in his PSV contract.
In any case, City are reportedly keen to strike a deal with Messi which could shake up a formidable side built over the past few seasons.