Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has reportedly taken a dramatic u-turn on FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi despite his desire reunite with the Spaniard in the Premier League.
Messi looks poised to depart the LaLiga giants this month after handing in a transfer request but is facing a legal battle over his proposed exit due the expiry of the clause that would allow him to leave on a free transfer.
Barcelona have insisted that any interested club would have to fork out the €700-million release clause in his contract after the 10 June deadline lapsed to force an exit, while LaLiga has supported the stance with an official statement.
Manchester City, Internazionale and Paris Saint-Germain have all been monitoring the situation since Messi declared his unhappiness and desire to leave the Camp Nou but it's believed the Argentina captain is only interested in City.
"I think a move to Man City is likely," Barcelona presidential candidate Toni Freixa recently told Goal.
"It would only be logical if both of them worked together again. City, like almost all English clubs, also has the financial means to build a team that can win anything.”
According to reports in Spanish media, City have already agreed personal terms with the 33-year-old but Mundo Deportivo suggests that Guardiola has decided against moving forward with the transfer.
Scroll through the gallery to see the players likely to depart Barcelona ahead of the 2020/21 season
It's been claimed the financial strain of securing the highest-paid footballer in the world would prove too much of a risk for the Citizens especially after return from a UEFA Champions League ban that eventually set them back €10-million in Financial Fair Play (FFP) fines.
While PSG are now the favourites for what would be one of the most historic transfers in football history, the Spanish giants' stance complicates a potential departure before the end of his contract that expires at the end of next season.
However, it's been noted that the latest move from City could likely be a ploy to distance themselves from Messi's recent boycott from first-team training as he appears to be on the verge of forcing an immediate exit.