Manchester United transfer news: Club accept defeat to City in Lionel Messi chase

They feel Pep Guardiola gives City the edge

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The Independent Football

Manchester United have accepted they will lose to rivals City in the chase for Lionel Messi, should he ever leave Barcelona.

Messi was reported in the Spanish media to have rejected talks for a new contract at the Spanish champions, with his current deal due to expire in 2018.

That led to speculation he could leave the Nou Camp, with the two Manchester clubs, along with Real Madrid, the only ones that could afford his wages.

The 29-year-old’s offer from Barca is believed to be in the region of a staggering £825,000-a-week before tax, and while United would be able to afford that, they believe the Pep Guardiola factor would give City the edge, according to The Sun.

A source told the paper: “City would be the favourites if he were to one day leave, but we would obviously love the sign a player of that level.

“We can certainly compete on the cash front and Messi is an Adidas player like Paul Pogba, so we have our pluses.

“But all the same, we would not get involved in any bidding war unless Messi’s camp gave an indication that he was willing to come here.”

Messi is believed to want to finish his career at Barcelona, something Guardiola has always insisted, and the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu said he was convinced the five-time Balon d’Or winner would stay at the club.

“All of Barca believe this is how it has to be, because he is the player that in the last few years has brought us sporting success,” he said.

“I believe we've got a team with incredible players, all of them. There is nonetheless a leader of course, Leo Messi, he is well known and popular all over the world.


“We're all convinced, we're all positive Leo Messi will end his sporting career in Barca.”