Man City set to launch January bid for Lionel Messi after Pep Guardiola contract extension

Manchester City could reignite their interest in Lionel Messi after securing Pep Guardiola’s contract with a new two-year contract, according to reports. City tried to sign the Argentine during the summer and are tipped to make another move in January.

Messi continues to be linked with a move away from Barcelona, months after trying to force his way out on a free.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner declared he felt he had exercised a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for nothing and become a free agent.

But after former club president Josep Bartomeu refused to let him go and got La Liga involved in legal proceedings, he was forced to stay put.

He’s since put further strain on his relationship with the Nou Camp hierarchy by claiming he’s “tired of always being the problem” at the club.

Now, Messi could be offered a route away from the club, as reports suggest City will launch another bid in January.

According to the Daily Mail, the two clubs are likely to discuss a deal during the upcoming window when they meet to talk about Eric Garcia.

The defender is out of contract next summer but Barca are determined to sign him as soon as possible, having seen two bids rejected on the previous transfer deadline day.

And City could try to tempt Barca into selling Messi to them immediately, with Garcia going the other way.

Messi is out of contract at the end of the season, and is believed to have his heart set on a move to City in order to reunite with Guardiola.

He could wait for the summer to leave and move to the Etihad for nothing, but the Premier League side will likely try and work out a fee in order to take him in the winter window.

Guardiola’s new contract could help their position on the bargaining table, as there had been suggestions Messi would stay at the Nou Camp.

The Spanish manager has agreed to stay for an extra two years, keeping him at the Etihad until 2023.

The deal was confirmed by the club on Thursday, giving them the opportunity to start planning early for the January window.

And Messi will likely be their top target, with both player and coach eager for a reunion.

Messi played some of the best football of his career under Guardiola’s management, winning four of his Ballon d’Ors while playing for him.

The Argentine faced criticism from the uncle of team-mate Antoine Griezmann this week, who claimed training sessions at Barca are designed to make Messi look good.

Emmanuel Lopes said: “Griezmann was convinced that he wasn’t going to be successful within the first six months, but what I didn’t expect was that [his struggles] would last an entire year. Besides, with Messi, I know what’s going on inside – it’s not easy.

“Basically, [Messi] doesn’t work hard enough at Barca and the training sessions are structured in order to please certain people, which is fine if you don’t want to work.

“Antoine needs to work, even though others don’t need as much effort to play well. He’s the other way around – he needs to put in a lot of effort for himself.”

And the player himself hit back, and appeared dejected by the claim.

Messi said: “The truth is that I’m tired of always being the problem of everything at the club.”

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