Man City are increasingly likely to lose out in their sensational bid to sign Lionel Messi this summer, Football Insider understands.
The Premier League leaders have been firmly in the race for Messi, whose future at Barcelona is up in the air as his contract expires at the end of the season.
But Spanish sources have told Football Insider that the 33-year-old may now stay at Barcelona and pen another blockbuster contract with the club he has spent his entire career.
This comes after Joan Laporta was sworn in as Barcelona for the second time earlier this week.
At his inauguration ceremony, Laporta, who was previously Barca president between 2003 and 2010, made clear his priority is to convince Messi to stay.
Football Insider has been told Messi is “close” to Laporta and the club is ready to pull out all the stops to keep him.
The pair get on well together, were pictured embracing earlier this week and the feeling is among those close to the board that the six-time Ballon D’Or winner will stay.
Man City have held discussions with Messi’s camp, starting last summer when the player tried to engineer his exit from Camp Nou.
It is believed that unless Paris Saint-Germain, Messi’s other main suitors, come to the table with “monster money” he is likely to sign a Barcelona extension.
Messi, who turns 34 in June, could walk away for nothing when his contract expires.
He has not yet decided on his future beyond the end of the season and will listen to the new president’s proposal.