As news of Lionel Messi’s proposed move away from Barcelona entered a fourth day, it's emerged that Bartomeu and Barcelona may be the biggest stumbling block in negotiations, if Sheikh Mansour is to fulfil what the Times describe as a 'dream' transfer for the Manchester City owner.
On what has been a rather subdued day on the Lionel Messi front, here is everything that has happened in the past 24 hours in Manchester City's pursuit of one of the greatest of all time.
The financial aspect of this deal is ultimately crucial and according to SPORT journalist Toni Juanmarti, following consultation with lawyers, they would have to pay his release clause or come to an agreement with the Catalan club. This report, which subsequently vanished earlier hopes, mentioned by AS as relayed by Sport Witness that Lionel Messi wants to sign 'for free' as per a clause in his contract.
According to journalist Veronica Brunati, the finances could cause an unexpected U-turn in this developing saga because no club will be willing to the pay €700M release clause that Barcelona are standing firm on. Brunati also says that Manchester City wouldn’t be able to pay Barcelona a transfer fee and offer Messi the wage package planned by the parties due to Financial Fair Play restrictions and regulations - thus being the reason as to why Manchester City could look to offering players in exchange.
Brunati speaks about Manchester City offering players in exchange for the 33-year-old; however according to Jack Gaughan of the Mail, City are not planning on offering first-team regulars - including the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva or Riyad Mahrez - in a player plus cash deal for Lionel Messi. This report was seconded by Esporte Interativo, who said that Manchester City will not include any first team players in a potential deal.
Barcelona themselves are thought to be the main sticking point in this deal after Florent Torchut of L'Equipe claimed that when PSG’s sporting director Leonardo Araújo enquired about Lionel Messi, his father Jorge responded by saying that his son has already chosen to engage with Manchester City. Messi is said to want to reach out to the La Liga giants for a 'friendly exit' says El Periodico.
Adrian Sanchez reports that Messi and Bartomeu will meet to agree on an exit without any 'collateral damage' - with Brunati commenting that Jorge Messi and the club president will have a meeting to 'build bridges' and seek a 'peaceful solution.' However, the Barcelona president is 'completely and definitively' not going to allow Lionel Messi to leave, according to Achraf Ben Ayad, as Barcelona will reportedly refuse to negotiate the sale of Messi says Alfredo Martinez.
There was though some worrying news on Friday afternoon, after journalist Dani Senabre said that an 'unexpected turn of events' was coming in regards to the situation. He claimed that he; “cannot say much more and I am one of those who thought it was irreversible but from what they tell me, stay tuned tonight on the Messi issue.“ Though, nothing is yet to have materialised in regards to this individual report.
ESPN then claimed that completing this transfer will be extremely difficult because of the Catalan club’s current stance, though Manchester City chiefs hope that Barcelona will eventually succumb to Messi leaving and agree to a reasonable price. There isn’t currently said to be an agreement between Manchester City and Lionel Messi despite the Blues speaking with his father daily.
Catalunya Radio say that Messi will apparently not stay at Barcelona even if Bartomeu were to resign as the Argentine’s lawyers are said to have advised Messi not to appear at PCR tests being conducted by Barcelona on Sunday. His lawyers are also said to have requested a meeting with the club’s counterparts and until they have come to a resolution, Messi will not talk according to Tot Costa.
The final bit of information surrounding Pep Guardiola himself, courtesy of Catalunya Radio's Marc Marba, who reported that the Manchester City manager is currently in Barcelona and had dinner yesterday at a family restaurant in the city. Although Lionel Messi is set to return to training, Marba suggests that after the telephone conversation Guardiola and Messi this week, a meeting between the pair is expected.
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