Manchester City ‘would consider’ Lionel Messi if free this summer
Manchester City could explore signing Lionel Messi should the Argentinian leave Barcelona next summer at the end of his current contract, City Football Group’s Chief Football Operations Officer has said. In a wide-ranging interview with The Athletic’s Football Correspondent David Ornstein, Omar Berrada describes Messi as “clearly the best player in the world” and says that any club would “love” to have the six-time Ballon d’Or winner in their team.
What happened this summer?
Messi came close to leaving Barcelona this summer.
In August, the 33-year-old sent Barcelona an official document informing the club of his desire to leave by activating a ‘get-out’ clause in his contract, that would allow him to depart on a free transfer.
But Barcelona disputed the clause and in September, Messi announced he would see out the remaining year on his contract, after talks with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Were Manchester City interested?
Berrada has told The Athletic that Manchester City would indeed have considered signing Messi this summer had he become available.
“Had it become a real possibility, we would have considered it. He is clearly the best player in the world so I think any club would love to have Messi in the team, but it didn’t happen.”
Berrada also said he found the speculation flattering, adding: “It was interesting to see all the speculation about him wanting to come to Manchester City. That is a testament to how far this club has come, the strong squad we have now and the top players in the world wanting to come and play for Pep [Guardiola] and be a part of this team.”
Will City attempt to sign Messi next summer?
The Athletic reported back in February that Manchester City still hoped to sign Messi. That deal did not come to pass this summer, but Messi’s current contract expires in June 2021.
And Berrada, one of the most powerful figures at City Football Group, has said the club could explore signing the Argentina international should he become a free agent at the end of the season.
“We will see if it ever becomes a possibility,” Berrada said. “If he leaves Barcelona and should Messi become something that can be discussed, then we could potentially explore that option.”
What else did Berrada discuss?
In a wide-ranging interview with David Ornstein, Berrada also discussed Manchester City’s hopes of winning the Champions League, rumours the club wanted to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and how the side plan to become financially self-sufficient.