Spanish newspaper AS have a Lionel Messi to Manchester City article in their Sunday edition. The story has been wheeled out yet again, although not with a great deal of fanfare, and it certainly doesn’t feel like AS have attempted to fabricate the whole thing.

Manchester City’s hope over Messi, and therefore Barcelona’s worry, is the time it’s taking to rubber stamp his contract renewal. Despite repeated assurances from Barcelona that everything is agreed and settled, and all the formalities simply a matter of time, things have been dragging on.

Doubt is inevitably creeping in and the longer Messi goes without agreeing to have his photograph taken signing a contract, the more that will happen.

AS say sources close to Manchester City even speak of “having maintained serious conversations with the footballer’s environment”. Whilst the Premier League club are said to ‘remain open to everything’, Messi himself is of course edging towards a Barcelona stay.

The Argentine is happy with his life in the area, his family are settled, and there’s no desire to uproot everyone for a new life elsewhere. Things may not be perfect for Messi at Barcelona, as always seems to be the case, but it’s not thought to be serious enough to facilitate a move.

Manchester City, meanwhile, wait around just in case.