Ladies and gentlemen, we might have found ourselves the next big transfer saga. Goodie.
But the increasing emergence of Manchester City as a Catalan outpost – ooh, topical – has long-fuelled speculation that the World’s Greatest Player™ Lionel Messi might reunite with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
Cue laughter from Old Trafford.
Catalan newspaper Sport point out it's November and Messi hasn't completed his renewal yet. There's 'a worry in the gut', given he can speak to other clubs from January 1st about a free transfer. pic.twitter.com/70p1GNfpvK
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) November 8, 2017
But that fantasy link has become more legitimate over the course of this season, as Messi’s contract stalemate with Barcelona means the Argentine can speak to other clubs from January 1st.
That’s enough for our traders to take the rumour seriously, cutting the price of Messi joining City in January from 25/1 to 16/1 overnight, as speculation ramps up.
Spokesman Paddy Power said: “It’s not going to happen. Is it? After the Neymar fiasco, though, who knows what bodge job Barcelona might perform next – still, at least they have a ready-made replacement in Gerard Deulofeu.
“The fact that City will even be able to talk to Messi in January is a terrifying prospect for the rest of the Premier League. And Raheem Sterling, who had just rediscovered his form.”