Manchester City are convinced Lionel Messi would snub other clubs to sign for them, if Barcelona ultimately decide to negotiate his sale, ESPN reports.
Paris Saint-Germain are also keen to sign Messi, after Neymar reportedly spoke to him on the phone on Thursday about the possibility of a transfer to Ligue 1.
Despite this, City believe the Etihad is the 33-year-old’s most likely destination, if he manages to force a transfer.
Messi is believed to have requested a meeting with Barca’s board to facilitate his exit.
City are hopeful that the LaLiga club will eventually give in and agree to let Messi go for a reasonable price given his desire to leave.
Although nothing has been agreed, City are in regular contact with Messi’s father Jorge.
The player will be offered a three-year contract with City, with the option to move on to partner club New York City FC for another two years at the end of his career.