London (dpa) – The Barça fans are protesting, his new boss now wants to fight for him – and at Manchester City they are starting to dream: Lionel Messi is causing European football clubs to get excited.
Is the Argentinian superstar really about to switch to the English runner-up? Ever since Messi announced his intention to move to Barça’s bosses, Man City has been considered one of the top candidates.
And so even the smallest details are taken as indicative of a spectacular reunion of the 33-year-old with his former coach Pep Guardiola in Manchester. City forward and Messi buddy Sergio Agüero (nickname: Kun) changed his Instagram name from @ kunaguero10 to @kunaguero on Wednesday.
For the English fans the reason is clear: because Agüero’s old shirt number 10 at Manchester City will belong to Messi in the future. What recently sounded like a foolish fan fantasy, now suddenly seems possible. The chances of signing the six-time world football player have never been greater.
Spanish radio station RAC1 reported that Messi’s father Jorge was already negotiating with Man City. The city boss and former vice president of Barça, Ferran Soriano, made contact. Reports that Jorge Messi traveled to England could not be confirmed at first. According to the well-known Argentinian newspaper “La Nación”, Messi and his family have made the decision for Man City. The newspaper spoke to someone who reportedly was close to him.
Other top clubs are also interested in the superstar. There has been speculation about Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and even Manchester United. However, it was said from France that a transfer was “impossible”, “L’Équipe” reported on Thursday. Man City, backed by sheiks from Abu Dhabi, is a favorite. It cannot fail because of the Argentinian’s salary expectations.
With Messi’s transfer, Manchester City would certainly attract worldwide attention. The reputation of the club, which, despite its star ensemble and many national successes, still does not lack international glamor, would suddenly rise. And the Messi name is likely to see record sales of sweaters and other merchandise.
According to “La Nación” a 3 + 2 contract would be conceivable. Accordingly, Lionel Messi would sign in Manchester for three years. He would then play in the US MLS for two more years for New York City FC, which is also owned by the City Football Group. According to information from the online portals “Goal” and “Spox”, Guardiola would have called Messi before announcing his transfer request. Together they won the Champions League with Barça in 2009 and 2011, which is at the top of the wish list of the Man City bosses – and also for Starcoach Guardiola.
However, Barça has not yet given up on their superstar. According to media reports, new coach Ronald Koeman now wants to try again to convince Messi to stay at the Camp Nou. And controversial President Josep Bartomeu, according to media reports, would resign if Messi stays.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, CEO of Bayern Munich, made it clear where Messi will not change under any circumstances. “We cannot afford a player of this size. It is not part of our politics and philosophy,” the 64-year-old told Italian newspaper Tuttosport.
Apart from that, he sees the announced divorce with mixed feelings anyway. “To be honest, it also makes me a bit sad to hear that Messi is leaving Barcelona. Leo helped write the history of the club and I think he should end his career in the blue,” said Rummenigge.