Barcelona Transfer News: Lionel Messi Wanted by Pep Guardiola Amid City Rumours

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2016

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi from Argentina, left,  celebrates his victory with coach Josep Guardiola during the final Copa del Rey  soccer match against Athletic Bilbao at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Signing Lionel Messi is reportedly "central" to Pep Guardiola's plans should he take over at Manchester City in the summer.

The former Barcelona manager has revealed that he will leave Bayern Munich at the end of the 2015-16 season and join a Premier League club, with the Sky Blues favourites to appoint him, per ESPN FC's Stephan Uersfeld.

According to Martin Lipton in the Sun, Guardiola is eager to be reunited with Messi—with whom he won 14 trophies when in charge at Barca—and City are continuing in ongoing negotiations with the Argentinian superstar.

Lipton indicates that City are prepared to pay the Blaugrana £120 million for the 28-year-old—his buyout clause is £190 million—and they have reportedly offered him an £800,000-a-week contract and will cover any tax-evasion fines Messi incurs.

Messi would likely be more inclined to join City should the chance to be reunited with Guardiola be on the table—and vice versa—while the pair could turn the Manchester outfit into one of the world's best teams.

However, scepticism reigns over the possibility of the Argentina captain ever leaving Barcelona, the club at which he has spent his entire career to date and had enormous success, per Bleacher Report's Dean Jones:

Barca are already arguably the best team in the world, and it seems highly unlikely that Messi would leave the Camp Nou to join a City side who are currently struggling to keep pace with the leaders in a low-quality Premier League title race.

Meanwhile, Messi is reportedly not the only Barcelona player Guardiola would target should he take over at the Etihad Stadium.

With money set to be "no barrier" in City's attempt to become "the biggest [club] on the planet", the 44-year-old is eager to sign Gerard Pique—as well as Juventus' Paul Pogba and Bayern Munich's David Alaba—due to concerns over Vincent Kompany's long-term fitness, per Shaun Custis in the Sun.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 06:  Gerard Pique of FC Barcelona scores his team's third goal during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on January 6, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/
David Ramos/Getty Images

Centre-back Pique returned to Barca, his boyhood club, from Manchester United back in 2008, and the 28-year-old is now a vital player at the Camp Nou.

Given his long-term connection with the Catalans—and his former association with the Red Devils—a move to City seems almost as unlikely as a prospective Messi transfer.

However, City's money may talk, and Guardiola could be the trump card.

City could afford to pay the necessary transfer fees to sign such players as Messi and Pique, and they could offer both huge contractsand the chance to be reunited with Guardiola could sway the pair.