Manchester City is weighing up a move to acquire Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi on a long-term deal which, according to one report, could lead to a future stint in Major League Soccer.
A Messi move to Manchester City could also include a stint with City’s sister club New York City FC after three years with the Citizens, ESPN reported Wednesday. In addition, Messi could become an ambassador for the City Football Group, according to the report.
The partnership with NYCFC has allowed Manchester City to loan players there as well as acquire players from the MLS side. Frank Lampard, Yangel Herrera, Mix Diskerud, Angelino, and Jack Harrison are just four players to have been transferred or loaned between the clubs in the past.
Messi, 33, confirmed to Barcelona that he wants to leave the club on Tuesday, signaling the potential end to what has been a 19-year stay at the Spanish club. The Argentinian forward joined the club’s youth academy in 2001 and since has risen to become one of the best players ever to play the game.
Manchester City is aiming to acquire Messi, which would reunite him with former manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium. The Citizens are aiming to acquire him on a free transfer, but are reportedly ready to pay roughly $118-$177 million if Messi is unable to force a free transfer.
NYCFC has already featured star players in the past with David Villa, Lampard, and Andrea Pirlo all playing for the MLS club. Messi would be a different proposition altogether, and would deliver MLS the type of star power not seen since David Beckham joined the LA Galaxy.