Manchester City will be in a position to sign Lionel Messi in the summer of 2021 if the opportunity presents itself, claims the club’s chief operating officer Omar Berrada.
The Blues quickly positioned themselves at the front of a long queue of suitors over the summer when it became apparent that the Barcelona superstar wanted out of Camp Nou.
Pep Guardiola’s strong ties to Messi – having previously worked with the Argentine in Catalunya – were expected to work in City’s favour if a remarkable deal was to be done.
That door was quickly slammed shut, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner revealing to Goal that he will be honouring his current deal, but no extension has been put in place at Barca.
Messi will be free to discuss pre-contract terms with other clubs from January, if no fresh terms are agreed in Spain, and City believe they boast the finances to pull off a stunning coup.
Berrada told the Manchester Evening News of past links to Messi and the potential for a future agreement: “He's an amazing talent , he's somebody that can make a significant impact at any club in the world on and off the pitch immediately.
“He's the best player in the world, he's the best player of his generation. I think any club in the world would like to explore the possibility of him joining their team.
“The fact that it was commented that he wanted to come to play for City just shows you how far the team has come over the last years where the best talent of his generation and potentially saying he wants to come and play for us.
“It's hard to guess what could happen. If you think back to those two weeks where everything played out at Barcelona, it's almost impossible to guess what will happen next summer.
“Messi is a generational talent, he's the best player in the world and probably an exception to potential investments that we'd do out of the ordinary but our planning has been done with this current squad and it is being considered with the current opportunities that we have.
“For every single position we have to be prepared because there can be so many things that can happen but at the same time I think we have the financial strength and system ability to make that investment when required.
“That's what puts us in a position where we feel comfortable that we'll be able to take the right decision because it also doesn't mean that we'll have to rush into anything - first because Sergio [Aguero] and Gabriel [Jesus] are performing very well, they are two of the best strikers in the world right now, and when we do decide to bring in potentially someone else, whether it is next season or the one after that then we will be in a financial position to do it for the right price.”