How Man City could line up if they complete Lionel Messi transfer in January

Pep Guardiola has secured his long-term future with Manchester City, by signing a new contract with the club. The City boss had his new two-year deal at the Etihad confirmed on Thursday, meaning his stay is set to last until at least the summer of 2023.

There had been some speculation that the former Barcelona boss could return to the Nou Camp, but those have now been put to bed.

One rumour that refuses to go away – and will perhaps only intensify further – is Lionel Messi sensationally switching Catalonia for Manchester.

The Argentinian forward is said to be growing increasingly frustrated with the La Liga giants.

He did attempt to force an exit last season, but with his contract ending at the end of the current campaign, it looks likely he will leave in 2021.

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“The truth is that I’m a little tired of always being the problem for everything at the club,” Messi said on international duty.

Barca legend Rivaldo has also suggested that the 2020/21 season will be his final one with the club, particularly with the salary cap set to be introduced in the Spanish top-flight.

He said: “Reaching an agreement to renew Messi’s contract is going to be tough with a reduced margin to increase his salary.

“Of course, Messi will have better offers from other clubs, and was already trying to leave the club by the end of last season. I can’t see how our board will convince him to move back on that decision.

“Unfortunately, I’m afraid this will be his last season with the club.”

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Should he complete a move to Man City, he would be yet another attacking talent to fit in Guardiola’s XI. Express Sport take a look at how they could line up with the man many label as ‘the greatest of all time’.

Goalkeeper

Although he can do most things on a football pitch, Messi is unlikely to threaten Ederson Moraes’ position as the first-choice City stopper.

Defenders

Guardiola has focused much of his spending on defenders in recent years, but may have finally stumbled on a solid back-four.

Aymeric Laporte is a sure fire starter when fit, while Ruben Dias has adapted to the Premier League well.

At full-back, despite Roy Keane’s verdict, Kyle Walker is still playing at a high level and Joao Cancelo has performed well at left-back.

Midfield

Here’s where it gets a little more tricky. Messi is known for his ability on the ball and the way he can pick up possession from a deep position.

Rodri will be tasked with doing much of the defensive work, while Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne will be able to thread balls through to the richly talented front-three.

Forwards

Bernardo Silva is given the right-hand berth here, but could easily be switched with Foden after his exploits for England in midweek.

Raheem Sterling provides the goal threat on the left, while he should also be able to up his assist count with the prolific Messi through the middle.

And that just leaves the little magician. Sergio Aguero’s contract expires in the summer and his injury issues could see City allow the club legend to leave.

Messi will hope to add to his 640 (!) and counting club goals, in the sky blue of City.

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