Former Barcelona and Manchester City star Yaya Toure have waded into the speculation that Barcelona’s talisman Lionel Messi could leave the Camp Nou this summer. He said though there are fewer clubs in the Premier League that can afford him, the most likely club he could join is Manchester City.
He however stressed that it would be very difficult for the 33-year-old Argentine football icon who has been playing at Camp Nou since he was 17, to leave the club at this stage of his career. The Ivorian midfielder noted that Lionel Messi has a special love for FC Barcelona and the entire city which is why he might not want to leave.
Background to the transfer dilemma of Lionel Messi
The news that Lionel Messi is on the verge of leaving Barcelona gained serious momentum after the Spanish La Liga giants were disgraced 8-2 in the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League by Bayern Munich. The defeat knocked them out of the competition and forced them to end the 2019-2020 season without a trophy.
Since Messi started playing for Barcelona, as a teenager in 2004 until date, he has never experienced such a defeat and such a catastrophic season. The Argentine who just has less than a year left on his current contract has reportedly started weighing his options ahead of the 2020-2021 season.
He has reportedly told the club that he doesn’t mind leaving this summer and he has been strongly linked with a move to Italian Serie A side, Inter Milan. Besides Inter, another club that could make a move for him if the ongoing management crisis at the club is not settled on time is Manchester City.
Yaya Toure’s Verdict to the transfer speculation linking Messi to Manchester City
Now that Barcelona has sacked Quique Setien and appointed one of the club’s legends Ronald Koeman as the club’s new manager, Messi could be tempted to stay and see out his contract and probably decide to work away in June 2021 as a free transfer. But Barcelona may not want that to happen, hence, they might be tempted to sell him to a club like City if that becomes the only option.
In line with that, Yaya Toure believes that the fact that Pep Guardiola is the manager of Manchester City and that the Spanish tactician had worked with Lionel Messi at Barcelona, City could be a good fit for the Argentine.
“It is going to be complicated”, Toure told Daily Star. “From what I know, Messi loves Barcelona. He loves the city, he loves the club, he loves the philosophy there.
“But if he had to leave the club, maybe he could come to City. Why? Because City have the money to buy him and there are only a few clubs in the Premier League who can afford him, to be honest.
“If he comes to City he is going to be good for City because the rest of the Premier League is quite intense and hard as well.
“The way Messi plays, few managers are going to love him because he just sits off to the side and does not want to defend much.
“In England – depending on who is going to criticize him for that – they want you to work, defend and attack and it is not easy.
“But if he came to England, I could see him playing for City because Guardiola knows him better and he could put him in this City team to play his football.
“I have a little bit of doubt that he is going to leave Barcelona, to be honest. Barcelona all boils down to Messi. If Messi leaves there is going to be a massive gap.”