It is claimed that City are the club best placed to land the Argentine due to his personal relationship with boss Pep Guardiola, while he also shares a close bond with Argentina international teammate Sergio Aguero.
Now aged 33, Messi starred under Guardiola when the latter was in charge at the Blaugrana between 2008 and 2012, with the two maintaining a personal relationship since.
The report claims that whilst City’s stance is that they will not attempt to sign the player, that will change if he becomes available as a free agent and Guardiola has already initiated the talks.
Inter are said to be a background option but their sporting project does not overly entice Messi, while Paris Saint-Germain is a more attractive option but they are unlikely to be able to justify his salary due to their spend on Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria.
The report adds that the options of Manchester United and Newell’s Old Boys – Messi’s boyhood club in Argentina – have been ruled out.
This follows multiple reports across Spanish and Argentinean media which state that Messi intends to leave Barcelona and will attempt to activate a clause in his deal which allows him to break his contract.
Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards during his spell at the Camp Nou, where he has spent the entirety of his professional career and firmly established himself as one of the greatest footballers ever to play the sport.
Messi has scored a scarcely believable 634 goals in 731 official appearances for Barcelona, but his time at the club now appears to be up and he is hopeful of becoming a free agent.
Read more: Where will Lionel Messi move after Camp Nou?