Manchester City have been told they will be able to sign Lionel Messi if they agree to pay him £500,000 per week after tax, according to reports.
The La Liga giants refused to let him go, but Messi will be free to leave the Camp Nou when his contract expires at the end of next month.
City retain an interest in the six-time Ballon d’Or, who could be set to play his final match for Barcelona next weekend.
However, it is unclear whether even the mega-rich Premier League champions would be able to meet Messi’s astonishing wage demands.
The player’s father, Jorgen, has begun deciding where his son’s future lies, with Barcelona having lost control of the situation.
According to The Sun, Messi is open to the idea of a 12-month deal with another club if they stump up £25m for his salary.
The Argentine believes his high-profile status and the absence of a transfer fee justifies such hefty demands.
A deal worth around £500,000 per week would make Messi the highest-paid player in Premier League history.
Barcelona have tabled a proposal to their greatest ever player which is thought to be worth around £330,000 per week.
That would represent a significant drop in earnings from the £1m-a-week contract that Messi is currently on.
City have not yet made a formal attempt to sign the 33-year-old, even though he has been able to open talks with non-La Liga clubs since the start of January.
But with just six weeks left to run on his deal and the Copa America on the horizon, Messi’s future is edging closer to being decided.
Pep Guardiola is a huge admirer of a player he managed so successfully at the Camp Nou, but City are unlikely to agree to a £25m salary.
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