Manchester City ‘targeting sensational double swoop of Erling Haaland AND Lionel Messi this summer’ – with Pep Guardiola ‘keen on reuniting with Barcelona icon as well as finding Sergio Aguero’s long-term replacement’
- Manchester City are reportedly still keen on signing Lionel Messi this summer
- Reports in Spain claimed that it was ‘case closed’ on any move to the Etihad
- However, not all hope is lost with conflicting reports saying a move is back on
- Sportsmail understands that City also remain intent on signing Erling Haaland
- They will look to splash £200million on Haaland and Jack Grealish this summer
Manchester City reportedly still want to sign Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland this summer in what will be a sensational double transfer swoop.
City have long stood as favourites to sign Messi since he shocked the football world last summer and expressed his desire to leave Barcelona, before backing down after being faced with a legal battle over his contract.
Reports in Spain on Wednesday claimed that any move to the Etihad was no longer happening for Messi but according to The Sun, City remain intent on signing the iconic forward along with Haaland once the transfer window reopens at the end of the season.
Man City are reportedly wanting to sign both Lionel Messi (left) and Erling Haaland (right)
Reports claim that City are still keen to reunite Pep Guardiola (back) and Messi at the Etihad
City have made no secret of the fact that they are on the search for firepower, after confirming on Monday that all-time leading goalscorer Aguero will move on at the end of the season once his contract expires.
Sportsmail understands that Borussia Dortmund superstar Haaland and Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish are top of City’s transfer wishlist as Pep Guardiola gears up to freshen his squad.
The pair would be expected to cost close to £200million — a strong display of intent by a club on the verge of sealing a third Premier League title in four seasons.
However, The Sun have gone on to claim that Messi is still on their list of top targets and will look to capitalise on Barcelona’s financial woes in order to sign the expensive Argentine once his contract expires in the summer.
Messi made clear his intentions to leave Barcelona last summer after a fallout at the club
City were widely expected to bring Messi to the Premier League last summer, after he told Barca last year that he wished to exercise his option to leave for free.
Messi sent the Spanish giants an official burofax outlining that he wanted to bring his time at the Nou Camp to a close, though Barca stood firm and successfully argued that such a deadline for notifying them of this intention had passed.
Messi has knuckled back down this season despite being forced to stay and has got back to his majestic best, currently leading the way in the La Liga goalscoring charts with 23 goals and eight assists from 26 games played.
And despite things now looking rosy again at the Nou Camp, The Sun are reporting that City will still try their luck with reuniting Guardiola and Messi in England.
The report goes on to claim that Messi has not ruled out a move to Manchester, either, and could be set to form a deadly strike-partnership with Haaland should City land the superstar duo.
Guardiola is after a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero, who is leaving this summer
Haaland, 20, has long been Guardiola’s primary target as the team’s next main striker and boasts an enviable scoring return this season, with 39 goals in 38 games for club and country.
The Norway international, whose father Alfie spent three years as a player at City, is set to line up against his suitors in a Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
City’s pursuit of him and Haaland suggests they are looking for a younger age profile of player.
Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne will all be 30 before next season begins. It is hoped a new contract can be finalised with De Bruyne in the coming months.
Haaland is the preferred option in the central attacking area but City will have alternatives in case they are gazumped by Chelsea or Real Madrid.
Guardiola is looking to make a major splash in the market with the champions elect
Harry Kane, who recently admitted he will decide his Tottenham future after Euro 2020 this summer, is an obvious choice and a player revered by Guardiola.
In an interview on Tuesday on talkSPORT, the City boss continued his praise of Aguero, saying he is ‘irreplaceable’.
Guardiola added: ‘He’s a legend, the best striker this club has ever had… but he’s irreplaceable in the mind for our fans, to our people and to the players that played alongside him or the managers who worked with him.
‘He is a fantastic person, a fantastic human being and I am pretty sure that if his mind is still aggressive like he is he can extend his career longer than maybe two or three or four or five years.’
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