Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona for Manchester City is possible, according to Cote d’Ivoire legend, Yaya Toure, but the former Blues and Blaugrana star admits that any deal for the Argentine this summer will be “complicated”.
The exit door is said to have been swung open at Camp Nou by the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The struggles endured by Barca in the 2019-20 campaign are reported to have Messi mulling over his options.
He has entered the final 12 months of his current contract, with extension talks having been put on hold as the Liga giants attempt to address serious issues on and off the field.
Club legend Ronald Koeman has been drafted in as the club’s new boss, with the Dutchman having held talks with Messi in an effort to discover where his talismanic captain stands.
It could be that the all-time great decides to sever ties with the only team that he has represented in his senior career to date.
Few sides could afford to put a transfer in place if Barca were to be forced into opening themselves up to offers, but Premier League heavyweights City would fall into that category.
Toure believes those at the Etihad Stadium could explore a stunning swoop, especially with Pep Guardiola in their dugout, but the Ivorian concedes that any discussions will be difficult.
The City legend told the Daily Star: “It is going to be complicated.
“From what I know, Messi loves Barcelona. He loves the city, he loves the club, he loves the philosophy there.
“But if he had to leave the club, maybe he could come to City. Why? Because City have the money to buy him and there are only a few clubs in the Premier League who can afford him, to be honest
“If he comes to City he is going to be good for City because the rest of the Premier League is quite intense and hard as well.
“The way Messi plays, few managers are going to love him because he just sits off to the side and does not want to defend much.
“In England – depending on who is going to criticise him for that – they want you to work, defend and attack and it is not easy.
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“But if he came to England, I could see him playing for City because Guardiola knows him better and he could put him in this City team to play his football.
“I have a little bit of doubt that he is going to leave Barcelona, to be honest. Barcelona all boils down to Messi. If Messi leaves there is going to be a massive gap.”