Manchester City have given up on signing Lionel Messi, according to a new report.
Last summer, Messi wanted to join the Citizens and leave FC Barcelona, but it never came to pass. He was compelled to stay at the Camp Nou, with Barcelona turning down any offers to negotiate from City.
With the departure of Sergio Agüero confirmed, the priority for City is to sign a younger striker to replace him, and Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Harry Kane (Tottenham), and Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) are said to top the list.
Messi could in fact sign a pre-contract today if he wanted to, because he is less than six months from his contract expiring. But he is reportedly taking it slow and will only make a decision in the summer.
City reportedly think he will renew with Barcelona and that is one reason they are not making a push for him anymore. City had been trying to grab Messi for a long time now. They had the money to pay his massive salary and had appointed former Barcelona managers and executives such as Pep Guardiola, Txiki Begiristain, and Ferran Soriano. They also boasted having his personal friend and compatriot, Agüero, to entice him. But Messi has stayed loyal.
The English club is said to have accepted this and are unwilling to enter into a long transfer saga they would surely lose, unless the player himself makes an overture.
Right now, the two realistic options for Messi are to stay at Barcelona or leave for Paris Saint-Germain, who are making a serious attempt to sign the Argentine.
But new club president Joan Laporta is said to be growing in confidence that his best player will not leave him this summer.