Barcelona revive Lionel Messi’s war with Man City, increasingly confident Argentina superstar still wants free transfer

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MANCHESTER CITY is back in pole position for Lionel Messi after Barcelona reopened their break with the superstar.

Spanish giants’ acting chairman Carles Tusquets says they should have whipped the hapless striker this summer.

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Lionel Messi still wants to leave Barcelona after trying to force an exit last summerCredit: Reuters
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Barca deputy boss has now admitted club should have sold MessiCredit: Reuters

And that could open the door for City to make another move for Messi, 33, during next month’s transfer window.

SunSport understands Messi’s position hasn’t changed since August, when he tried to force his exit from Camp Nou.

None of the potential presidential candidates in the January elections did anything to help them sign a new deal.

And Tusquets has effectively put some of the blame on Messi for the club’s dire financial situation, which has forced them to agree to postpone the team’s wages this season to save up to £ 155million next month.

Messi’s narcotic £ 54 MILLION-The one-year salaries are a huge pressure on Barca’s accounts and Tusquets says the club should have sold him early in the season when they got the chance.

He said: “From an economic point of view I would have sold Messi this summer.

“It would have been desirable for the money we would have received and for what we would have saved.

On the salary deferral, Tusquets added: “The agreement we currently have allows us to end the season without cash flow issues. This season is saved. ”

Messi’s deal expires at the end of June and Barca must now decide to sell him at a reduced price in January to at least get something for him.

It would also save them £ 27million in wages, a figure that would go a long way to alleviate pressure on their balance sheets.

The Spanish giants are announcing losses of £ 88million in their annual accounts in October and, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to plague, they must sell players to reduce overheads.

City have barely hidden their admiration for Messi, who has been a long-time target for the club.

And with Pep Guardiola signing up for two more years at the helm of the Etihad, it is believed to significantly increase their chances of attempting him in the Premier League.

Juventus and Inter have also shown interest, but realistically only City and PSG could deliver the sporting and financial ambition of being able to strike a deal.

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