Lionel Messi has reportedly agreed a five-year contract with the owners of Manchester City and New York City FC, which will see him spend three years in the Premier League before moving to MLS.
The 33-year-old is set to leave Barcelona after announcing his intention to find a new challenge and speculation has been rife over which club will be able to tempt him to sign.
In reality there are is only an extremely small group of clubs that could afford the Argentina international and Manchester City appear to have won the race for his signature.
The Daily Record reports that City Football Group (CFG) have agreed a five-year deal with Messi worth £623m (€700m) which will see him play for Manchester City for three seasons and then move to America to play for New York City FC.
The group, which also owns Melbourne City in Australia, have built in some flexibility over when Messi would make the move from Manchester to New York.
The report suggests that Messi has also been offered equity shares in CFG as part of the deal, but he may prefer to take a cash offer rather than take a risk on the valuation of shares.
The contract can only come into play when Messi sorts out his current deal with Barcelona, which runs until 2021, but he is trying to break from this summer.
There was an agreement in his Barca contract which stated he could leave for free this summer if he informed the club 20 days before the end of the season.
He only did so in August, but is claiming that the extension of the season due to coronavirus means the clause is still applicable. Barcelona do not agree and may insist on any buying club meeting the forward’s enormous €700m release clause.
However, with Messi adamant that he wants to leave and not turning up for training or coronavirus testing at the club this week, he may force Barcelona’s hand into making a deal.