Manchester City teammates Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero have urged Lionel Messi to join them at the Etihad, should the Barcelona star grow tired of life at the Camp Nou.
As reported by beIN Sport (via Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail Online), Toure hints the arrival of Neymar could eventually see Messi move on:
If Messi can leave Barca? To come to us, yes! I want to say yes! At Barcelona, there is always one star. One. Two is not possible.
With the recent injury to Messi and the off-the-field problems that he is having at the moment, and with Neymar gradually getting promoted, it is complicated for him [Messi], for sure.
Aguero has also spoken about the man he plays with at international level. As reported by Chris Slater and Andrew Stuart of the Manchester Evening News, City's currently injured striker would like to start alongside his compatriot at club level:
"Yes, he should come to City," Aguero said. "Then we’ll definitely play together! City should buy him!"
Should Lionel Messi join Manchester City one day?
The thought of City pitting Aguero and Messi together on a weekly basis is enough to make any opponent shiver in fear.
Throw in Toure, who used to play behind the four-time Ballon d'Or winner during his spell in Spain, and Manuel Pellegrini's men would have enough quality to rampage across the Premier League and Europe.
Of course, such a discussion is only apparent due to negative headlines following Messi's every move.
The injured forward recently criticised Barca board member Javier Faus for suggesting he wanted a pay rise, as reported by Argentina's RAC1 radio station (via Sid Lowe of The Guardian).
Messi has an outrageous record considering his fitness problems this season.
He has scored 14 goals and provided four assists in 14 games across La Liga and the Champions League this campaign, although extended time on the treatment desk has undoubtedly seen the mini-maestro lose ground on Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery in the race for this year's Ballon d'Or.
Sky Sports pundit and La Liga expert Graham Hunter suggests City's interest is constant and shouldn't be taken too seriously:
@njmcfc1894 City have been pestering Messi for some years. 'What would it take...etc'. It's not new, just renewed. Given how FCB are...— Graham Hunter (@BumperGraham) December 21, 2013
Any potential buyer of Messi would have to significantly smash the world-record transfer fee to acquire his services. As Fabregas noted back in June, Barcelona selling the star would be "unthinkable" at this stage in his career, per Chris Myson of Goal.com.
While both Toure's and Aguero's comments shouldn't be taken too seriously, Manchester City are among the tiny handful of clubs that could sanction a move for Messi if the opportunity ever arose.
Stats via WhoScored.com.