Manchester City are reportedly plotting to make a fresh move for Barcelona frontman Lionel Messi in the January transfer window.
The 33-year-old unsuccessfully attempted to leave the Spanish side over the summer, citing a clause in his rolling contract that gives him the option to leave on a free at the end of every season.
The coronavirus pandemic meant that the end date of the season was delayed, however, muddying the waters of Messi’s contract clause – and rather than take on a legal battle, the Argentine forward opted to stay for another year.
City were heavily linked with snapping up Messi over the summer and remain the favourites to secure his services if he leaves at the end of the current season, but according to The Sun, the side is aiming to bring him to the Premier League as soon as January.
The newspaper claims that Barca are aware that they are likely to lose their greatest ever player on a free transfer in the summer and may opt to accept some much-needed transfer funds at mid-season – and they would also see the benefit of losing his hefty wages from their balance sheet.
Messi himself may not be up for such a deal, however, with a recent report claiming that he is in line for a £30m loyalty bonus if he sees out the season with the Catalan side, even if he then goes on to leave on a free.