Lionel Messi’s Barcelona stance leaves Man City with three Sergio Aguero replacement options

Lionel Messi now looks set to stay at Barcelona, spurning Manchester City’s efforts to sign him on a free transfer at the end of the season.

It comes after starting a search to find a replacement for Sergio Aguero, who will be leaving in the summer.

After 10 years at the club, the Argentine will see his contract expire and it has been confirmed that he will be released.

As a result, Pep Guardiola will be on the lookout for a new frontman to lead City with many big names on his list.

The biggest is Messi, who is also out of contract at the end of the season.

However, according to Sport, the Barcelona talisman now looks set to continue with Los Cules for at least another year after being pleased with the progress made.

Since the start of 2021, Barca have been in magnificent form and are hunting Atletico Madrid down for the La Liga title, despite their Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.

It means City look set to miss out on the signing of Messi, which looked on the cards last summer, but their list is still dominated by big-name players.

Erling Haaland remains the top target at the Etihad after a blinding season with Borussia Dortmund.

The Norway international has 33 goals in 31 appearances and is being chased by a host of elite European sides.

As a result, City might be spurned once more amid such a hot race for the 20-year-old which has made Harry Kane a top target, according to The Times.

The Englishman has one eye on the exit door this summer if Tottenham cannot match his lofty ambitions.

As he turns 28 in July, Kane will be entering the second-stage of his career and be in his peak while yet to win a trophy – something that could be achieved with City.

And the third target, and perhaps most surprising, is Romelu Lukaku, who has been rattling in goals for Inter Milan.

Despite his Manchester United past, the Belgian is being eyed for a Premier League return, while Chelsea are also interested in the 27-year-old.

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