Man City plot £358m move for La Liga star in January as player's 'inner circle' contacted
Lionel Messi is the key man at Barcelona (Picture: Getty)

Manchester City are ready to offer £358million for Lionel Messi in January, according to reports in Spain.

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Messi is currently locked in negotiations with Barcelona over a new contract with his current deal set to expire at the end of June.

The Argentine was expected to have already signed his extension after Barcelona announced in July Messi would be staying until 2021.

But, talks have dragged on and Spanish daily AS claim City have been watching the developments closely with a view to a January transfer.

Man City plot £358m move for La Liga star in January as player's 'inner circle' contacted
(Picture: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Man City plot £358m move for La Liga star in January as player's 'inner circle' contacted
(Picture: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty)

Barcelona have repeatedly told fans not to worry and are still confident the deal can be reached.

‘Everything is signed. There is no need to worry,’ Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted.

However, City are waiting in the wings and have already held discussions with Messi’s ‘inner circle’.

Man City plot £358m move for La Liga star in January as player's 'inner circle' contacted
(Picture: Getty)

Manchester City Fixtures

(H) Stoke – Sat, Oct 14
(H) Napoli – Tues, Oct 17
(H) Burnley – Sat, Oct 21
(H) Wolves – Tues, Oct 24
(A) West Brom – Sat, Oct 28
(A) Napoli – Wed, Nov 1
(H) Arsenal – Sun, Nov 5

Man City plot £358m move for La Liga star in January as player's 'inner circle' contacted
(Picture: REUTERS/Albert Gea)

City are prepared to smash the world-record fee Paris Saint-Germain paid for Neymar last summer and poach another Barcelona superstar.

Pep Guardiola would be delighted to be reunited with Messi who he coached in his time at Barcelona.

Man City plot £358m move for La Liga star in January as player's 'inner circle' contacted
(Picture: RODRIGO BUENDIARODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty)

Messi and Guardiola helped Barcelona achieve a golden era of success with three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies in the span of three years.

Despite the interest from England, Messi is keen to stay in Spain with his wife and family settled in the country.

The prospect of moving to Manchester would be a major upheaval for his family and Messi still feels valued at Barcelona.

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