Manchester City have the financial strength to sign Lionel Messi next summer if the Barcelona forward still wishes to leave, says the Premier League club’s chief operating officer.
Messi had sought to leave Barcelona for free at the end of last season and he favoured a reunion with his former head coach Pep Guardiola in Manchester.
But the six-time Ballon d’Or winner got into a bitter contract dispute with the club he joined as a teenager from his native Argentina and, ultimately, had no choice but to stay in Barcelona.
City missed out but, according to chief operating officer Omar Berrada, the club will be ready to pounce should Messi allow his contract with Barcelona to expire next summer.
He told the Manchester Evening News: “He’s the best player in the world, he’s the best player of his generation. I think any club in the world would like to explore the possibility of him joining their team.
“He’s probably an exception to potential investments that we’d do… but our planning has been done with this current squad and it is being considered with the current opportunities that we have.
“For every single position we have to be prepared because there can be so many things that can happen but, at the same time, I think we have the financial strength and system ability to make that investment when required.”