Manchester City are working out the finances of a mammoth move for Lionel Messi after Barcelona’s board softened their stance on his future, according to a report.
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, losing to winners Bayern Munich.
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 Argnentina forward to the Etihad Stadium.
According to ESPN, that remains the case, with the Premier League side “crunching the numbers” of a deal.
City are reportedly aware of the cost of the deal but want to prepare for if a move opens up.
And while Barcelona will officially direct clubs keen on Messi to his €700million release clause, there could be hope for City.
ESPN adds that certain members of Barcelona’s board would be open to selling the forward, should the club use the money to invest in first-team development.
Barca – whose typical lineup has an average of around 30 – is in need of a rebuild under new boss Ronald Koeman.
City, like Barca, have suffered a poor run in each of the last three Champions League tournaments. They know that by bringing in Messi, their chances of a first European Cup would skyrocket.
However, City’s finances remain under scrutiny after the Court of Arbitration cleared them of serious wrongdoing.
The court overturned the club’s two-year ban last month, instead imposing a hefty fine.
MAN CITY CHAIRMAN PROMISES FURTHER INVESTMENT
Meanwhile, City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has promised that the club will sign more players before the start of next season.
Pep Guardiola has so far added Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres to his squad.
The chairman said: “We’ll be sensible and pragmatic about it but we will do what it takes. I think you’ve seen when it comes to the two acquisitions we have made, Ake and Ferran Torres, we moved quickly.
“There are additional players we will be bringing in and we will stick to the plan, obviously within the realities of the market that we live in today.”