Manchester City believe they are in prime position to land Lionel Messi if he wants to leave Barcelona, according to the Guardian. Their interest in the Argentine has been one of the footballing world’s worst-kept secrets for some time now, and they may now believe they are in their best position ever to land the recently recrowned Ballon D’Or winner.

With the arrival of Pep Guardiola as manager in the summer, coupled with the presence of both Ferran Soriano as chief executive and Txiki Begiristain as director of football, The Blues believe they have the necessary contacts to land Messi, and think they would be his first port of call if he decided to call time on an extremely successful Barcelona career.

Guardiola worked with Messi for four years when he took over the job at the Nou Camp, and brought the forward to the brilliant best we now expect, and City want to use the good relationship the two La Masia graduates have in order to bring Messi to the Etihad when the time is right. However, they don’t believe that the 28-year-old is prepared to leave Catalonia yet, and will bide their time to get the world’s best player.

Sergio Aguero has in the past also been labelled as a potential bargaining chip if City want to bring in Messi, due to the extremely strong friendship between the pair. Last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner has also previously admitted to trying to convince Messi that Manchester is “the perfect place to play football”.

Were a deal for the Barcelona star to be completed, it would almost certainly smash the current world transfer record, which remains with Gareth Bale, out of the water, with a €250 million release clause still in Messi’s contract. Manchester City’s current record is the £54.5 million for Kevin De Bruyne last August. The Argentinian international would likely also become The Blues’ highest-paid player.

There have been suggestions in the past that some things at Barcelona have left Messi feeling disenchanted, especially the continuing tax affair involving his father. There were also reports last season that Messi was unhappy with Luis Enrique as manager, and it could result in one of them leaving the club. However, Messi has returned to being a formidable part of a Barcelona team which is probably now on a par with Guardiola’s peak side.