English Premier League side Manchester City will not try to sign Barcelona forward in January, according to Sky Sports News.
The English 2019 champions have been strongly linked with the 33-year old Argentine superstar after he sought an exit from Barcelona during the summer amid a contract dispute that saw Messi reluctantly opt to see out the final year of his contract at the Nou Camp.
Messi is out of contract at the end of the season, making him free to negotiate with other clubs from January onwards, and it had previously been widely reported that Man City’s owners City Football Group had agreed to buy out Messi on a five-year deal, with Messi becoming the most expensive football player in history, beating his former teammate Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million in 2017.
Previous reports suggested that Man City was ready to pay €500 million to secure Messi's services.
But now it seems that a reunion with his former manager Pep Guardiola is not on the cards.
Messi’s age and €100 million-a-year wages are a deal breaker for City, according to Sky Sports, particularly given the situation with coronavirus, which has hit football clubs’ income streams.
The outlet notes that transfer activity across football is likely to be subdued in the winter transfer window with some clubs, like Spanish giants Real Madrid, not buying any players at all, and others trying to sell so they can make bigger transfers at a later date.
Barcelona's debt has ballooned to $580 million due to the coronavirus outbreak, prompting the club to slash its wage limit for the 2020-2021 season. This year the club will only spend $407 million on wages compared to $714 million last year.
"Perhaps, clubs would rather invest that money into bringing younger players in or bringing in reinforcements in positions where they actually need those reinforcements", Sky News reported quoting Spanish football expert Semra Hunter.