Manchester City are willing to ‘bide their time’ over a pursuit of Lionel Messi with the club prepared to wait until March or April before opening negotiations with the Barcelona superstar.
Messi has entered the final months of his contract with the Spanish giants and his future remains uncertain, the Argentina international having expressed a desire to leave Barcelona before remaining for the 2020/21 season.
The 33-year-old was determined to leave and believed he could walk away for nothing, only for Barcelona to insist his €700m release clause remained valid with Messi backing down rather than risk souring relations further by taking the club to court.
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman recently said he was ‘not confident’ that Messi would agree a new deal to remain in Catalonia beyond the end of the season, however, whilst the Spaniard’s crippling financial situation makes a deal difficult.
Manchester City are amongst the favourites to sign the Argentina captain should he opt to walk away from Barcelona this summer, though will face strong competition with Paris Saint-Germain having been vocal in their desire to sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
According to ESPN, however, City will take a patient approach to any deal and ‘have decided to adopt a less aggressive tactic’ in their pursuit of Messi, the Premier League side prepared to wait before entering talks despite the Argentine having been free to negotiate with foreign sides from January 1.
Pep Guardiola previously spoke with Messi last year regarding City’s project and a potential move that would reunite the duo at the Etihad, having won 14 trophies together during the former’s glittering four-year spell in charge of Barcelona.
Messi’s future is likely to become clearer following the verdict of Barcelona’s presidential elections early next month, the club captain set to listen to the new president’s plans before making a decision on his future.
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