Manchester City are reportedly preparing a world-record £357million January bid for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
Spanish newspaper AS claims Pep Guardiola would love to be reunited with his former player at the Etihad this winter.
And Messi’s dwindling contract could help City bring the Barcelona ace to the Premier League in a potential deal which would outshine Neymar’s £195m summer switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
Argentina international Messi is on course to become a free agent at the end of the season and is yet to agree an extension to stay at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona chiefs are adamant the 30-year-old will be remaining in the Catalan capital after securing Andres Iniesta to a ‘lifelong’ deal.
But AS claims sources close to Man City have held “serious conversations” with Messi’s “inner circles.”
City certainly have the money to fund such an audacious deal, spending well over £200m in the summer on new faces.
However, the report adds that Messi is “happy with his life in Barcelona”, with the star’s wife also reluctant to uproot their family for a move abroad.
Meanwhile, City are believed to still be keen on Arsenal contract rebel Alexis Sanchez, and could make a £20m bid in January for his services.
There is also said to be interest in Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam, who could arrive at the Etihad as a replacement for long-term injury crock Benjamin Mendy.