Manchester City is banking on Pep Guardiola to lure the world’s biggest stars to the Etihad next season.
According to the Guardian, Barcelona sensation Lionel Messi is at the top of the club’s pecking order.
While the 28-year old has given no indication that he will be leaving the Camp Nou any time soon, City’s hierarchy remains confident that Guardiola can sway his former player into a move to England.
Guardiola, who will take over with the Citizens ahead of the 2016-17 Premier League season, managed Barcelona from 2008 to 2012, where Messi was clearly an integral figure in the club’s success. The Blaugrana had a tremendous amount of success, becoming the first Spanish side to win the treble, while also capturing two UEFA Champions League crowns.
In addition to Guardiola’s personal ties to Messi, City executives Txiki Begiristain (sporting director) and Ferran Soriano (chief executive) also hold relationships with the Argentine after previously working with Barcelona.
While Messi is scheduled to be under contract until the summer of 2018, City continues to watch his situation closely. Messi is currently set to appear in Spanish court in May as a part of fraud accusations.
With fellow Argentine Sergio Aguero already in place with Manchester City, the possibility of Messi joining the four-time Premier League champions isn’t unrealistic. However, Barcelona has been and will likely continue to be one of the world’s most dominating clubs, raising some doubts as to why Messi would want to leave.
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His partnership up front with MSN’s Neymar and Luis Suarez has made Messi all the more dangerous when facing opposition. Barcelona is on pace to win another treble this season, appearing to be odd’s-on favorites to win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and Champions League.