Lionel Messi is being mentioned in numerous soccer transfer rumors again. This time, the FC Barcelona superstar was linked to a possible move to English Premier League club Manchester City.
Manchester City are expected to become strong players on the transfer market this summer with arrival of incoming manager Pep Guardiola, who is set to replace Manuel Pellegrini after the 2015-16 season.
According to Jason Burt of the Telegraph, Manchester City are confident that they can convince Messi to move to Etihad Stadium in the event the Argentine superstar decides to leave FC Barcelona this summer.
Messi, who won the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the fifth time in his career earlier this year, is under contract with FC Barcelona until after the 2017-18 season. But there are rumblings suggesting Messi will not finish his contract and look for a way out of Camp Nou.
If that happens, Manchester City thinks they have a strong chance to land Messi, and even the other star players of FC Barcelona, because of Guardiola, who coached the club from 2008 to 2012.
"The arrival at City next season of Pep Guardiola, working alongside the former Barcelona axis of chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain, also makes the club, they believe, the likely destination of any of Barca's star players should they leave the Nou Camp," Burt pointed out.
Messi has netted 22 goals on top of 10 assists in 23 Spanish La Liga appearances this season. The 28-year-old forward was slowed down by a knee injury earlier in the season, but FC Barcelona managed to stay on top of the La Liga table. They have racked up 76 points in 30 matches and are nine points ahead of Atletico Madrid.
Guardiola to Make Big Moves This Summer
Meanwhile, reports also confirmed that Guardiola is planning to make several big moves this summer, especially if Manchester City fail to win a trophy this season.
Manchester City, who are currently fourth in the English Premier League table after 30 matches, will reportedly try to add four to five key players in the summer transfer window.
According to ESPN, Guardiola and Manchester City could express interest in signing Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte and Everton defender John Stones. Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos could also be one of the top targets of Guardiola this summer.