Manchester City have been outrageously linked with a move for Barcelona star Lionel Messi, a transfer that would shock the world of football.
The Argentine, widely thought of as the best player in the world, is out of contract at Barcelona at the end of the season and is yet to sign a new deal.
The Catalan club are adamant that their hero will sign a new deal, but the delay in doing so has got many wondering about the forward’s future.
Messi will be free to negotiate with other clubs for a pre-contract agreement in January, and Manchester City are known to be serious admirers of him.
Sergio Aguero has often flirted with the prospect of his compatriot joining City, and manager Pep Guardiola managed Messi during is time in charge of the Spanish giants, playing a key role in his continued development.
Odds on Messi signing for City have been slashed all round, with PaddyPower dropping the odds from 25/1 to 16/1. The likely outcome is that the player signs a new deal, but City are the favourites to land him if he does decide to leave.
The Messi story has rumbled on for some time now, with Barcelona announcing in July that the player had agreed a new contract, despite it not being signed.
“The club is very happy with both the renewal and the commitment of Messi, the best player in history,” the club said in a statement.
“He has played his full professional career at Barca and has led the team to an era of extraordinary success, the likes of which has never been seen in world football.”
A spokesman for Paddy Power had this to say on a potential deal: “It’s not going to happen. Is it? After the Neymar fiasco, though, who knows what bodge job Barcelona might perform next – still, at least they have a ready-made replacement in Gerard Deulofeu.
“The fact that Manchester City will even be able to talk to Messi in January is a terrifying prospect for the rest of the Premier League. And Raheem Sterling, who had just rediscovered his form.”