EXCLUSIVE Man City are close to signing Lionel Messi and tying down manager Pep Guardiola to a new contract in a stunning double deal as the Argentinian eyes a Barcelona transfer exit.
Manchester City are closing in on a Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola double whammy.
The Blues believe they are on the brink of prising Argentine superstar Messi away from Barcelona after the six-time Ballon d’Or winner made it clear he is not backing down from his bid to quit the Nou Camp.
And City bosses know the arrival of the 33-year-old forward will secure the future of boss Guardiola for another three years.
New Barca coach Ronald Koeman is already planning for life without Messi.
And Nou Camp chiefs are hoping to agree a £250million players-plus-cash deal with City rather than go to court in an attempt to get the Etihad club to pay the player’s £630million get-out clause in full
Messi has other huge offers from Paris St Germain and Inter Milan, while Juventus have also entered the bidding at the 11th hour.
But it is telling that the Argentine wanted assurances from Guardiola that his former Barcelona boss would not be leaving Manchester at the end of the coming season.
The 49-year-old Catalan is about to embark on his fifth season as City boss and his contract expires next summer.
His wife, Cristina, moved back to Barcelona a year ago with the couple’s youngest daughter so she could spend more time working in her fashion business.
City have been on a charm offensive to secure Guardiola’s future beyond 2021 for the past year – and Messi’s arrival will seal the deal.