Manchester City were named as the frontrunners to sign Lionel Messi in the summer transfer window before the Barcelona star made a U-turn and decided to spend this season at the Camp Nou.

His contract with the Catalan club runs down next summer and failure from Barca to extend the forward’s current deal will allow him to join another club on a free transfer.

Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid are also facing a similar situation with their star defender Sergio Ramos. The centre-back is in his final year of contract and hasn’t signed an extension with the La Liga winners.

Journalist Gustavo Yarroch has told ESPN F360 the La Liga star duo have been identified as transfer targets by Pep Guardiola’s side.

According to Yarroch, the Premier League side are ‘preparing an economic engineering’ in bringing Messi and Ramos to Etihad for the 2021/22 season.

Both Messi and Ramos will be in a position to agree a pre-contract with City or any other club outside Spain from January 1st due to their contract situation.

Although Yarroch has reported this information, ESPN in Argentina question ‘will it happen?’