Barcelona Transfer News: Latest on Lionel Messi, Neymar, Pep Guardiola Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2016

Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola arrives for the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburger SV and FC Bayern Munich in Hamburg, Germany, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Michael Sohn/Associated Press

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Neymar will be off limits to Pep Guardiola when he takes over at Manchester City this summer following reports he won't poach from his former club unless they place players on the market.

Lluis Miguelsanz of Catalan-based daily Sport reported Manchester City and their directors are hoping to avoid an "institutional conflict" with the Blaugrana, and as such will not engage in any chase for Barca's prized assets. An extract from the report read:

City have allowed him total liberty to set up a new team capable of winning everything in the years ahead, but Pep and the club directors will not move for any Barcelona players, unless the Blaugrana puts them on the market. They want to avoid institutional conflict and will avoid trying to lure Barcelona players.

The likes of Messi and Neymar have both been linked with moves to Manchester City in the past, even though the financial requirements to sanction either deals would be astronomical.

Shaun Custis and Martin Lipton of the Sun reported in November that Messi was "open" to an Etihad Stadium switch, which could see him net an eye-watering £800,000 a week in wages.

Messi (centre) and Neymar (right) finished first and third, respectively, in the 2015 Ballon d'Or voting.
Messi (centre) and Neymar (right) finished first and third, respectively, in the 2015 Ballon d'Or voting.Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Ex-Barcelona winger Txiki Begiristain once served as director of football for the Spanish giants before joining Manchester City in 2012, where he serves in the same capacity.

However, City can still expect a busy first summer transfer window under Guardiola after Miguelsanz stated the Citizens will hope to make "a minimum of eight signings," with the defence cited as a priority.

It's positive news as far as City's relations with Barcelona go, but some City fans may be dismayed to hear they won't even attempt to make moves for players such as Messi.

This revelation effectively rules out any chance of Blaugrana superstar and Ballon d'Or nominee Neymar moving to the Etihad, which is a big blow after he was quoted by Sky Sports outlining his desire to work with Guardiola:

Guardiola is a guy that I really admire and who I would love to work with. It's tough to say if I want to play in other countries. Nobody knows tomorrow, but I'm very happy where I am right now, at Barcelona.

I have the will to go back to Brazil some day and I also would like to play in the USA, those two countries are two where I want to play later on my career.

The appointment of Guardiola promises to automatically make Manchester City a more desirable destination for the world's top players, who may well lick their lips at the prospect of working under the Spaniard.

The Mail on Sunday's Oliver Holt dubbed this as the move that would "take City to the next level" after the club confirmed on transfer deadline day that he would succeed incumbent Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season:

Miguelsanz even outlined that Guardiola's former Barca anchor Sergio Busquets "would like to sign for Pep at City," but the move won't be pursued in order to avoid a confrontation with Luis Enrique's outfit.

Bayern may worry the early announcement of Guardiola's next move will deter his interest at the Allianz Arena in the months to come. However, BBC Sport's Shamoon Hafez provided quotes from the manager, who said he can concentrate on both teams at once:

Manchester City's summer prospects now look a lot brighter, and 2016 is bound to be chronicled as a very notable year in the club's history, when the manager they've sought for so long begins his transformation.

However, it's reported that Barcelona won't lend their former coach much of a hand in helping shape Guardiola's Manchester City dynasty in an effort to maintain good relations between the two clubs.