Barcelona will demand £250m for Lionel Messi and have identified the player they want to replace him, according to the latest reports.
Manchester City continue to be linked with Messi, who failed to attend pre-season testing at Barcelona on Sunday as the dispute over his contract continues. Messi feels he has activated a clause to leave on a free, but the club – and now La Liga – insist the clause is not applicable and any buying club must pay the £630m release clause.
However, the Mirror say Barcelona are hoping to receive £250m for Messi, and would allow him to leave at that price. The report adds City feel Messi’s signing would convince Pep Guardiola to extend his contract at the Etihad for another three years.
It’s claimed that the £250m fee would be enough to persuade Barcelona to part with Messi and avoid a court battle over the contract dispute to receive the full release clause.
Elsewhere, the Telegraph report that Barcelona chiefs expect Messi to leave the Nou Camp and have started lining up his replacement.
They say Barca will increase their efforts to sign Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, who has been strongly linked with them all summer.
Other players linked with Barcelona are Lyon winger Memphis Depay and Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum.