We’re not sure if you heard, mostly because it was kept relatively quiet (read sarcasm), but Lionel Messi wanted to leave Barcelona this summer.

The Argentine believed he was free to choose his next club, but the La Liga side made it clear that opportunity had passed and he was still tied down for at least an extra year at the Nou Camp.

Manchester City were immediately brought into the equation, what with them having money and being managed by Pep Guardiola, but nothing has come of it… yet.

We say this because, as we near the January window and the possibility of Messi being able to talk to clubs regarding a free transfer, rumours have started to circle again, with the Etihad mooted as a potential landing spot.

This comes from El Chiringuito, who claim, via their journalist José Alvarez, that Manchester City ‘continue to be in the lead’ to sign the Barcelona star.

He states they are ‘the best placed’, but there are ‘two very important factors’ to take into account as well, which could ‘tip the balance’, and those are two renewals.

The first is that of his former mentor, Guardiola, whose deal also runs out next summer and will now be renewed on a yearly basis, with a decision expected to be made in March or April.

Whether or not he continues in charge at the Etihad would largely depend on how the season goes.

As for the second renewal, it’s that of his ‘best friend off the pitch’, who so happens to be Manchester City striker Sergio Agüero.

So, for Messi to accept moving to the north of England, he’d want Pep Guardiola and their star striker to stay.

That doesn’t seem to be too demanding, does it? We’re sure Txiki Begiristain can accommodate that if he really tried.