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Rivaldo thinks 'bluffing' Man City still want Messi but Aguero deal could help keep him at Barcelona

12:43 BST 03/04/2021
Lionel Messi, Barcelona 2020-21
The Barca great does not trust the recent reports that claim the Premier League side will not try to sign the attacker this summer

Former Brazil star Rivaldo refuses to believe Manchester City are not interested in Lionel Messi but thinks Sergio Aguero moving to Barcelona could convince his fellow Argentine to stay put.

As it stands, Messi is able to leave Barca when his contract expires at the end of the season, with Goal having reported that he'll make a decision on his future when the current campaign ends.

City could be in the market for a new star forward as they prepare to lose Aguero this summer and Rivaldo isn't convinced that they've ended their hopes of landing Messi.

What has been said?

He told Betfair: "The press is reporting that City have given up on signing Messi for next season, but I always have my doubts about these types of stories.

"Generally, when a club dismisses speculation about a transfer target it actually means the opposite, with the club remaining interested and just making a strategical bluff.

"I'm pleased to see Messi looking more relaxed on the pitch again and getting back to playing his best football.

"If he doesn't agree a new deal with Barca then he can negotiate with other clubs while he continues to do his best on the pitch and avoid making an official announcement about his future before the end of season."

What about Aguero?

After announcing he will leave City at the end of the season, Aguero has been linked to the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, as well as fellow Premier League sides Arsenal and Chelsea.

Rivaldo says the 32-year-old would be a great signing for the Catalans and thinks he could convince Messi to stay at Camp Nou.

He added: "Signing Aguero on a free transfer could be a coup for Barcelona. He has a good relationship with Lionel Messi and, with Barca missing Luis Suárez this season, Aguero would probably go straight into the starting 11. His arrival could also new club president Joan Laporta persuade Messi to stay at the club.

"Apparently, Ronald Koeman disagrees with a potential move to sign Aguero because he is more focused on renewing Barca's squad by signing younger players it's his priority. But this would be a great opportunity to reinforce the attack without spending too much money.

"Koeman should remember he only has one year left on his contract, so if he doesn't win titles between now and the end of next season, it's probably he won't have time to complete his project.

"Memphis Depay and possibly Erling Haaland are said to be in conversations with the club. But those players will cost big fees, so Koeman should carefully weigh up the options before rejecting them, especially when we are talking about a player of Kun Aguero's quality.

"Haaland is a huge talent with a bright future ahead of him, but his signing will mean a massive investment from the club and I'm not sure if Barcelona have that amount available at the moment since they are going through some financial problems."

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