Manchester City are unwilling to include regular first team players as makeweights in a bid to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona.

Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez have all been mooted as potentially forming part of the negotiations.

It was reported that City want the trio to remain within Pep Guardiola’s squad for the coming season and would not countenance them leaving for the Nou Camp or anywhere else.

Manchester City are unwilling to include Gabriel Jesus in any possible deal to sign Lionel Messi

Riyad Mahrez has been mooted as potentially forming part of the negotiations for the deal

Bernardo Silva is one player of particular interest to Barcelona and they still want to sign him

The process of landing Messi was set in motion by a personal phonecall from the Argentine to Guardiola but there remains significant complications to him departing Catalonia.

The transfer window is only open for five more weeks, closing on October 5, and Messi’s situation is likely to take some time to resolve

The 33-year-old believes he is technically justified in asking to leave for free, owing to a clause in his contract that ran out on June 10, while football was on pause.

Barcelona reject that notion, however, and will want to recoup a sizeable transfer fee for their greatest ever player from any suitor.

It makes negotiations with City delicate, with the Premier League patiently waiting to find out the outcome of wrangling between Barcelona and Messi’s lawyers.

Olabamerun Oluwatise

"The first sentence can't be written until the final sentence is written"

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