Lionel Messi: Barcelona to offer contract extension to Man City target - with new clause

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks dejected during the Liga match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 1, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Lionel Messi will be offered a new contract by Barcelona in an attempt to ward off Manchester City, according to reports. 

The Argentina international wants to quit the Nou Camp after nearly two decades at the club. And he feels he can depart for free - despite the La Liga giants saying otherwise.

Messi has become Barcelona’s best player in their entire history over the years, propelling them to 10 La Liga titles as well as four Champions League crowns.

But, now, a sensational parting of the ways could be on the cards.

Messi wants out of Barcelona, believing he’s now a free agent due to a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for nothing at the end of the season.

Barca dispute this, however, insisting that he remains very much on their books - while also having the backing of La Liga at the current moment in time.

Messi was absent from testing on Sunday and also snubbed Barcelona training on Monday, leaving a young supporter in tears outside the training ground in the process.

Yet Mundo Deportivo say Barcelona haven’t given up hope of keeping the 33-year-old and are planning to offer him a contract extension.

It’s claimed they will seek to tie Messi to the club until halfway through the 2022/2023 season, until the World Cup in Qatar.

And they’ll amend the current clause to stop the veteran from leaving for nothing, ensuring they land a fee from his departure from any potential suitors.

Messi, however, is adamant that it’s time to pursue a new challenge elsewhere.

And, at the current time, it’s Manchester City who are frontrunners in the race to secure the signature of the Argentina international.

Messi previously spent four years playing under City boss Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, with the pair helping the club scale huge heights during their time together.

And Guardiola would love to bring Messi to England, with City exploring ways to strike a deal while keeping in line with Financial Fair Play regulations.

Meanwhile, Nou Camp presidential candidate Toni Freixa has expressed a belief that Messi will go - and the Etihad Stadium will be his next destination.

Freixa told Goal: "As I have heard from several sides, the decision the player has come to is one that has matured over several years and is irrevocable.

"I don't believe that there is any going back."
On a move to City, he added: "I think a move to Man City is likely.

"With Pep, Messi experienced his most brilliant years in Barcelona. It would only be logical if both of them worked together again.

"City, like almost all English clubs, also has the financial means to build a team that can win anything.

"Messi is a player who strives for maximum success.

"He alone cannot achieve maximum success, he needs a team for that. He does not have one.

"Since the treble in 2015, Champions League success is missing. That is what concerns him.

"His decision is due to the negative sporting development of the team in recent years."
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