KEY POINTS

  • Man City could offer three players to Barcelona for Messi
  • Barca wanted Jesus as Suarez's replacement
  • Messi's release clause at Barcelona is around $826 million

Manchester City reportedly are planning to offer three players plus $118 million to FC Barcelona for signing Lionel Messi this summer.

Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave ahead of the 2020-21 season. While he believes he can trigger a clause in his current deal with the club, the Catalans maintain the clause expired in June despite the extension of the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since Messi has one more year left in his deal with Barcelona, his release clause is understood to be around $826 million. The La Liga side has urged their skipper to stay, but Messi has made up his mind about parting ways with the club he had joined almost 20 years back.

The 33-year-old broke the news about leaving after Barcelona suffered an embarrassing 8-2 loss to eventual champions Bayern Munich at the Champions League. As a result, Barcelona sacked their head coach Quique Setien and sporting director Eric Abidal. They appointed Ronald Koeman as Setien’s successor, who reportedly told Messi his "privileges are over" and that he has to "do everything for the team".

Messi, who has led Barcelona to many championships over the years including 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies, is believed to have finalized his decision to leave following his chat with Koeman that took place at the player's residence.

While many top European clubs have been trying to acquire the signature of one of the greatest players in soccer, Premier League side Man City are understood to be at pole position in the race.

Spanish publication SPORT has claimed that in an attempt to not violate any more Financial Fair Play rules, Man City are planning to include Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and Eric Garcia in the offer for Messi along with $118 million. It was previously reported that Barcelona have contacted Man City over Jesus’ transfer as the Spanish side is seeing the Brazilian striker as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, who has been informed by Koeman that he is not a part of the club’s future plans.

Antoine Griezmann celebrates with Lionel Messi after scoring a sensational chip against Villarreal on Sunday. Antoine Griezmann with Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba Photo: AFP / JOSE JORDAN

It has been reported that Man City have already offered a five-year deal to Messi, which will see the six-time Ballon d’Or winner play in the Premier League for the first three seasons before heading to Major League Soccer (MLS) to play for the club’s partner club, New York FC, for the final two seasons.