MANCHESTER CITY have been hit with a transfer blow as a Barcelona presidential hopeful claims Lionel Messi WILL sign a new deal if he is elected.
The Spanish side are seeking new leadership after Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned having received a vote of no confidence.
Catalan businessman Jordi Farre is among the candidates to replace Bartomeu, and he has promised to tie down Messi if he is voted in.
Farre said: "If we win the elections in January, Leo will renew his contract on the 25th.
"He is the best player in the history of football and we have to offer him an exciting project.
"We will be capable of motivating him and, the day after becoming president, I hope to have him renewed."
Messi – who tried to force a transfer away from Barca this summer – is free to leave at the end of the season, when his contract expires.
As a result, Manchester City and PSG are among the clubs interested.
But SunSport revealed City – managed by Pep Guardiola who spent four years with Messi – are ready to go back in for the Argentine this January.
They just missed out on the 33-year-old in the last window, when he was forced into staying after a bitter legal row.
But with the player's relationship with Barca still frosty and the LaLiga giants desperate for money, City are considering making a move in the upcoming transfer window.
Messi has struggled to produce his sparkling best this season under new boss Ronald Koeman.
His dip in form followed an amazing public outburst at the club who he claimed were going back on their word to let him leave over the summer, with City waiting in the wings to snap him up.
Messi ultimately lost the power struggle when Barca made it clear they would take legal action to stop him leaving — and since then the relationship between club and player has been cool at best.
But Farre is adamant once a new leader is established, it will convince the forward to commit his future to his boyhood club.
He said: "Leo is a Cule and is waiting for a new board to see what project he's offered.
"What he wants is to be sold a dream, he needs that, and right now, not just the team, the club is sad and we need to give it a new impulse.
"I think Leo will stay, we have the capacity to offer him an exciting project, I want him to stay and he must be part of the club's future.
"I would dare to say that, if we win the elections, Leo will renew on Jan. 25."
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