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While Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona hangs in the balance, Manchester City are trying to figure out how they could sign him without breaking Financial Fair Play rules, ESPN reports. The Argentine reportedly wants to leave the club as it has hit rock bottom with the 8-2 loss to champion Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals earlier this month. City, another Champions League contender, also fell way short of expectations by losing in the quarterfinals to Lyon. 

Messi has not publicly stated whether he wants to stay in Barcelona or leave, but City are monitoring the situation closely and looking into the costs that would be involved if Barca agree to sell. Messi has one year left on his contract, and the Catalan giants recently named Ronald Koeman as the new manager to help rebuild a squad that went without a trophy for the first time in over a decade. 

A deal for the player would certainly complicate things for Pep Guardiola’s side as they already had run-ins with FFP rules in the past, even being banned from the Champions League as a result before having that ruling overturned on appeal. 

The current economic situation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic also complicates things a bit with financial experts believing a move for him isn’t viable. His release clause is over €700 million, making him untouchable at that price. He’d only become available if Barca agree to facilitate the move in an effort to not force him to spend the last season of his contract unhappy at Barca. 

City have already spent over $60 million to sign Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake and Valencia winger Ferran Torres. Bringing in Messi would force the team to make some significant sales to balance the books. The club already sold Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich.

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