BOTH Manchester clubs are on red alert after Barcelona claimed they will NOT break the bank to keep Lionel Messi.
United and City would jump at the chance of bringing the Argentina superstar, 29, to the Premier League.
And Barca CEO Oscar Grau admitted: “We have to be very strict with the budgets, we can’t go crazy.”
Keep up to date with ALL the latest Barcelona news, gossip, transfers and goals on our club page plus fixtures, results and live match commentary
City are prepared to pay a £100million transfer fee and hand Messi a record £800,000-a-week five-year deal to reunite him with ex-Barca boss Pep Guardiola. Messi has just 18 months left on his deal at the Nou Camp.
But £400,000-a-week contracts for strikers Neymar and Luis Suarez mean Barcelona are close to breaking Uefa’s financial fair-play laws.
A new Messi deal could top the £500,000-a-week Cristiano Ronaldo gets at Real Madrid.
Grau added: “We need to comply with the ratios of debt and the percentage of salaries in the budget. I want the best player in history to remain here.
“We will find the way, I am sure, but we have to make the numbers add up.”
United have also been linked with a move for Messi in the past — but Barca have always refused to do business. Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho plans to raise funds this month for a big summer splurge in the transfer market.
United agreed a £24m deal with Everton for midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin this week.
They have also slapped a £15m tag on Memphis Depay.
Mourinho said: “Now we want to raise pounds to attack in the summer.”