Lionel Messi at Manchester City wouldn't make them unbeatable, says Jamie Carragher

Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club after nearly two decades with the Spanish giants

Jamie Carragher has voiced his approval of Lionel Messi joining Manchester City
Image: Jamie Carragher has voiced his approval of Lionel Messi joining Manchester City

Jamie Carragher admits he would relish watching Lionel Messi playing in the Premier League, but he does not believe the signing would make Manchester City unbeatable.

City are in the strongest position to sign Messi - if the Argentina forward can get out of Barcelona this summer.

Sky Sports News has been told both Messi and City boss Pep Guardiola want to renew their partnership at the Etihad - putting the Premier League runners-up in a commanding lead over other suitors.

"I'd love to see Messi in the Premier League," Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports. "I want to to watch him and I want to analyse him and look at him on Monday Night Football. The only place he can really go is Manchester City with the history he's got with the manager and with the financial clout the club have got.

Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola 2:05
Lionel Messi wants to join Manchester City and has spoken to Pep Guardiola about the move, reports Gary Cotterill from Barcelona

"I don't think Liverpool will go anywhere near that situation from a financial point of view, number one, and also because of the way Liverpool play as well.

"They're a lot more energetic than City, who play a more technical game which would suit Messi a bit more - but how you get that deal across the line I'm not sure. With the figures involved, it's mind-boggling.

It would make Man City stronger but it wouldn't make them unbeatable. Barcelona haven't won the Champions League for a few years.
Jamie Carragher on Lionel Messi

"But I want Messi in the Premier League, and if it has to be City, OK - I'll take that one. If someone like Messi moves, there's only two or three clubs he can go to.

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"To me, it only looks like PSG or Man City he could end up at really. I want to see him in the Premier League. It would make Man City stronger but it wouldn't make them unbeatable. Barcelona haven't won the Champions League for a few years.

"Liverpool famously knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League a couple of seasons ago so it doesn't mean it's the end for everyone else - it just means it's brilliant to have Messi in the Premier League. Fingers crossed it happens."

Neville: Messi is flexing his muscles

Lionel Messi and Neymar 2:08
Neymar wants to be reunited with Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain and has asked the club to sign him from Barcelona, according to The Transfer Show

It remains uncertain that Messi can get out of his Barcelona contract, which still has one year left to run, in the current transfer window, having submitted a written transfer request on Monday.

Manchester City are not commenting on Messi's future - and Sky Sports News had been told they were wary of an ongoing powerplay at Barca, which has seen both head coach Quique Setien and sporting director Eric Abidal sacked, president Josep Bartomeu's future in serious doubt, and protests from supporters.

But Sky Sports News has been told, in no uncertain terms, Messi's transfer request is not a bluff - he is serious about leaving the club at which he has spent his entire career to date.

PEP MESSI
Image: Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi worked together at Barcelona

But Gary Neville told Sky Sports: "I think it's politics and power struggle. Messi is flexing his muscles. It's probably a bit more than that, but I think that is where it will end up in the end. The idea that Barcelona will lose this player and he doesn't finish his career there seems unbelievable to me. Does he really want to leave? Maybe.

"But when push comes to shove and he's got to meet with the president, the board and everyone else standing in his way, I think he will end up staying.

"But if he were to come to the Premier League, I think it would be to work with Pep. Would I want to see it? I think I would have to say yes, because the idea of watching Messi close up, something I have done over the last 10 years, really is something to behold.

"Would I want to stand in the way of every single young fan in this country having the opportunity to him at close hand when fans are back in stadiums, no I wouldn't. But I just hope he doesn't do very well for them!"

Richards: Magician Messi has still got it

Lionel Messi 2:00
Former Manchester City captain Richard Dunne says Pep Guardiola knows exactly how to play Lionel Messi and it would be perfect for the two to be reunited

Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan are both said to be preparing offers in an attempt to persuade him away from a reunion with Guardiola and a rendezvous with friend Sergio Aguero.

Should City fight off competition to secure Messi's services, Sky Sports pundit Micah Richards believes his former club would be pulling off a major coup

He told Sky Sports: "As a fan of football, to have Messi in the Premier League would be fantastic. I'd love to see him over here but Barcelona will not make it easy.

"He's 33 but I watched him against Napoli and thought, he's still got it, he's still a magician.

"When Sheikh Mansour took over, the signing of Robinho from Real Madrid was massive. He was the catalyst for the likes of Silva, Aguero, Kompany. If Man City could pull it off, it would be incredible."

Transfer Show: Messi keen on Pep reunion

la liga 2:28
Gary Cotterill reports a majority of Barcelona fans support Lionel Messi's request to leave the club on a free transfer

Manchester City are in the strongest position to sign Lionel Messi - if the Argentina forward can get out of Barcelona this summer.

Sky Sports News has been told both Messi and City boss Pep Guardiola want to renew their partnership at the Etihad - putting the Premier League runners-up in a commanding lead over other suitors.

Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan are both said to be preparing offers in an attempt to persuade him away from a reunion with Guardiola and a rendezvous with friend Sergio Aguero.

Neymar, with whom Messi struck up a strong friendship during their time together at the Nou Camp, has even asked the PSG hierarchy to sign the 33-year-old, although the club are said to be wary of potential implications on Financial Fair Play.

preview image 1:09
Lionel Messi risks a FIFA ban if he walks out of Barcelona without settling his contract dispute, according to top sports lawyer Nick De Marco QC

It remains uncertain that Messi can get out of his Barcelona contract, which still has one year left to run, in the current transfer window, having submitted a written transfer request on Monday.

He wants the club to honour a clause that allows him to leave for free within 10 days of the Champions League final, which technically expired on June 10 after the original fixture was scheduled for May 30, but was delayed until August 23 because of coronavirus.

Barcelona have responded to his request; telling Messi they do not agree the clause is active and the only way he can leave is if he pays the £626m (€700m) minimum fee release clause.

Manchester City are not commenting on Messi's future - and Sky Sports News had been told they were wary of an ongoing powerplay at Barca, which has seen both head coach Quique Setien and sporting director Eric Abidal sacked, president Josep Bartomeu's future in serious doubt, and protests from supporters.

But Sky Sports News has been told, in no uncertain terms, Messi's transfer request is not a bluff - he is serious about leaving the club at which he has spent his entire career to date.

Barca still trying to convince Messi to stay

Lionel Messi before Barcelona's 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich 0:54
"The writing has been on the wall" for Lionel Messi and Barcelona, according to South American football expert Tim Vickery

Barcelona are still trying to convince Messi to stay at the club after he expressed his desire to leave, says sporting director Ramon Planes.

Planes said: "This is evidently the important news. As we've said many times, as (Ronald) Koeman and the president have said and my position as technical secretary, we count on Messi for the future, just as we count on [new signing] Trincao as a talent of the future, and we have heard that he will play alongside the greatest player in the history, the greatest player in the world.

"These things happen and we hope we will come back stronger from the defeat at the end of last season. What's happened has happened and our idea is to build a team around the most important player in the world.

Image: Barcelona are still hoping they can convince Lionel Messi to stay at the Nou Camp

"We are not contemplating any kind of departure because what we want is for Messi to stay. We only have enormous respect for Leo Messi. Barca and Leo are like a marriage, where both have given so much to each other and have brought so much joy to the fans. I think the future is positive. I am an optimist.

"We are putting every effort into ensuring that the relationship between Barca and Messi will continue. We are working internally to convince Leo."

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    Analysis: Is Messi still the world's best?

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    Sky Sports data journalist Adam Smith:

    Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona after 16 trophy-laden seasons at the club - but is he still the world's best player?

    Alongside rival Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi has been hailed as the greatest player of the modern generation - and perhaps ever.

    Messi won the FIFA Best Player award in September last year before proceeding to top the La Liga charts across a raft of attacking stats in customary style and claiming the Golden Boot with 25 goals.

    Along the way, Messi joined Ronaldo as the only active players to belong to the prestigious 700 goals club, which has been achieved by just five other players throughout history: Gerd Muller, Ferenc Puskas, Pele, Romario and Josef Bican.

    His legendary status is undeniable. But does he remain, right now, at the peak of his powers? It's a question any potential suitors will have to weigh up as they consider a huge financial package to take him from Barcelona.

    Read more of Adam Smith's statistical analysis here...

    Analysis: How would Messi do in the Premier League?

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    Sky Sports' Adam Bate:

    It is the perennial question - how would Lionel Messi do in the Premier League? As years passed, hopes of an answer were fading but with the news the Barcelona icon has asked to leave the club, the prospect has never felt more real. It is just a shame Stoke did not stick around.

    At least it is still wet and windy in Manchester. A reunion with Pep Guardiola is seen as the most likely option if Messi is to opt for the Premier League. It would be the fantasy transfer made real. A nation awaits.

    But at the age of 33, what could we expect from Messi? The evidence suggests it would be a mistake to believe the competition would feel alien to him. It seems far more likely it would be the extraordinary gifts of Lionel Messi that would feel alien to anything witnessed in the Premier League ever before.

    Read more of Adam Bate's analysis here...

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