One of the first questions that greeted Pep Guardiola after the announcement of his new two-year Manchester City contract last week was whether it increased the chances of Lionel Messi joining from Barcelona.
But whatever the manager says in public, there is no doubt whatsoever that City want the Barca captain and will do all they can to sign him now he knows Guardiola is staying. In that respect, the new contract could be a game-changer in their pursuit of one of football’s greatest players. Messi will be all ears. Guardiola and the club’s hierarchy accepted as early as April there was a need for a squad overhaul at Etihad Stadium, a view supported this season by the fact they are in the bottom half of the Premier League table after eight games, having won only three times. Their manager’s new contract is likely to make that process significantly simpler.
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