Manchester City’s hopes in their pursuit of Lionel Messi have been boosted as one of Barcelona’s presidential candidates has claimed that the forward is likely to leave Camp Nou in the summer.
The Citizens are confident that they’d be in the front of the queue of clubs interested in signing the 33-year-old if he decides to quit the Catalan club when his contract expires at the end of the 2020/21 season.
Messi revealed that his decision on his future would be delayed until the end of the season although he wanted out last summer when Josep Bartomeu was still president.
He also predicted that Barca would struggle to compete for the biggest trophies in the coming years due to the financial troubles at the club.
Regardless, Agusti Benedito, one of the candidates vying for the club’s presidential office in the elections on January 24 does not believe that the club has a good chance of keeping the Argentinian and fears that they would lose him this summer.
In a chat with ESPN, Benedito said: “Keeping Messi would be the best news for the club, but I am not very optimistic”
“Given the club’s situation, I think it’s important that he stays at Barca, with the understanding that he understands the next two years we have in front us (could be difficult).
“He’s been here for 20 years – he’s a Barcelona fan and I think he’s sensitive to the situation.
“I would have liked him to say in his interview the other week that his desire is to stay at the club, but he didn’t and now we have to wait and see. Remember that in August he said he wanted to leave and now he’s still not cleared up what he wants to do. The most likely outcome I see is that he leaves us in the summer.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City are believed to be busy on a plan to maximize the benefits of signing Messi, and this would involve him playing for the club in the Premier League for some years.
After this, he would potentially end his career at one of the sister clubs in the City Football Group stable.
The mercurial footballer has previously disclosed his desire to play in the MLS one day and City’s Abu Dhabi own MLS Franchise Bew York City FC.