Reports: Manchester City still keeping tabs on Leo Messi as they prepare to move for Erling Haaland
At around 9 am BST on March 31st (yesterday), Diario Sport released a story headlined 'City-Messi, case closed' and attributed the story to the very well connected, reliable, and all-round fantastic Spanish journalist Pol Ballus, who you may know as the co-author of the book Pep's City: Making of a Super Team.
When Manchester City announced that Sergio Aguero would be leaving the club at the end of the season, many fans believed that would end any chance of Lionel Messi signing for the club. So, when a story supposedly from Pol Ballus comes out titled 'City-Messi, case closed', that was the definitive nail in the coffin and an absolute end to all speculation regarding Messi. However, it would later emerge that Pol had absolutely nothing to do with the story. As one fan put it, 'Manchester City are still alive here'.
Fast forward to 10:30 pm yesterday, the ever-reliable and well connected Martin Blackburn released a story alongside Duncan Wright and confirmed what many fans had thought to be the case when it emerged that Pol had nothing to do with the Sport story, City are still keen on Messi and would not be opposed to signing the player should the prospect arise.
It was reported that City are still keeping tabs on the Barcelona captain as they prepare to move for their number one striker target, Erling Haaland. Citing the aforementioned Sport report, it was added that City pulling the plug on the pursuit of Messi was not the case and that six-time Ballon D'or winner himself has not ruled out a move to the Etihad either - the player still being on the list of potential targets alongside Jack Grealish. The report goes further to illustrate Barcelona's financial struggles and highlights that the situation is worse than first feared, but that new President Joan Laporta still believes he can find the funds.
Certain fans believe a move for the greatest footballer of all time would scupper the club's chances of signing the next big thing in Erling Haaland and that it would be a choice made between the two. This simply isn't the case. City will pursue Erling Haaland and their other striker options (if need be) irrespective of the Argentine's availability. Messi will probably stay, as he always does. But, City are still interested in signing the player should he become available. Any reports stating otherwise can be batted away for now, unless it is actually is Pol Ballus (or any other reliable and well connected City journalist) reporting the story.