Report: Bartomeu willing to step down if Messi stays at Barcelona

27.8.2020 18:36

Embattled Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is willing to relinquish his position if Lionel Messi retracts his transfer request and remains at the club, sources told Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens of ESPN.

But Messi's desire to leave is firm, Marsden and Llorens add, meaning Bartomeu likely won't be forced to step down.

Angry Barcelona fans gathered at the Camp Nou demanding Bartomeu's resignation this week following reports of Messi's stunning burofax in which he informed the club he wants to terminate his contract.

A vote of no confidence has also been filed against Bartomeu.

Amid the chaos in Catalonia, Manchester City strongly believe they have a legitimate chance to sign Messi, according to Fabrizio Romano of The Guardian. The Premier League side is considered the favorite for his signature If the Argentine megastar truly wants a change of scenery.

City can reportedly spend up to €150 million on a potential transfer. Various Spanish outlets have recently named a host of players as possible makeweights to lessen the financial burden, including Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, and Eric Garcia.

Barcelona's position, however, reportedly remains unchanged: Any interested club will need to satisfy Messi's enormous €700-million buyout clause.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has a deal with the Spanish giants until 2021, but he insists a clause in his contract allows him to unilaterally terminate the agreement. Barca believe the clause expired earlier this summer, with the season delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic creating uncertainty around its validity.

Messi, 33, has grown frustrated with Barcelona's deterioration in recent years; on-field performances and backroom bickering have led to an apparent fracture in his relationship with the club he joined as a teenager in 2001.

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