Man City prepare Lionel Messi January raid to inflict Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham blow

Manchester City are reportedly braced to make another effort to sign Lionel Messi in January.

In the summer, Messi stunned the football world when he handed in a transfer request after becoming disillusioned with life at Barcelona.

City quickly became favourites to sign Messi, where he could reunite with his former manager Pep Guardiola.

But Messi eventually decided to withdraw his request to leave as he didn’t want to force a legal battle.

Messi’s primary issue was with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, but he resigned in October.

The Argentine superstar is in the final year of his contract at the Nou Camp and it remains uncertain whether he will sign a renewal.

And according to The Sun, City were considering whether to take advantage of Barcelona’s financial problems and lodge a bid for Messi.

Guardiola is yet to commit his future to the Etihad but the prospect of Messi joining could convince him.

The report says there is confidence at City that they can persuade Messi to join them either in January or next summer.

Meanwhile, England boss Gareth Southgate has backed the complaints made by Guardiola about dropping the five substitutions rule.

Prior to the international break Guardiola expressed his frustration at the Premier League’s decision to not keep the increased number of subs for this season, like much of Europe.

And Southgate, who has been juggling player demands from clubs, says injuries are going to be a concern for teams.

“We were able to make five changes against Belgium [in the 2-0 Nations League defeat in Leuven on Sunday], we made four in the end and clubs don’t have that option,” Southgate said.

“What will it take for that to change? There were a couple of less serious injuries against Belgium but what do we do? Wait until we get a load of really nasty ones?

“I have to be fair to the club managers. They are their players firstly and they have the right to play them as they see fit.

“(Injuries are) a worry in the longer-term because with no winter break, something has to give.”

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