Manchester City have weighed in on the Lionel Messi situation, posting a cryptic tweet that has left fans wondering whether the Argentine international is on his way to the Etihad.
The Premier League side are among the favorites to sign the current Ballon d’Or holder and their tweet has further laid credence to this viewpoint, with several other factors including the relationship between Messi and Pep Guardiola increasing the speculation.
Lionel Messi sent shock waves across the footballing world when he submitted a request to leave Barcelona for free this summer and there have been over 10 million tweets in the last 18 hours over where Messi’s next club would be.
Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and MLS are among the clubs that are linked with Messi’s signature but Manchester City look primed to become the first club colors other than Barcelona’s to be worn by the Rosario native.
Manchester City cryptic tweet: What does it mean?
Manchester City quoted a tweet by their E-sport handle – who had tweeted that their ”new signing is out of this world” – replying with wait… who could it be? Followed by a thinking emoji.
Wait… who could it be? 🤔 https://t.co/GDyR56me0c
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 26, 2020
The fact that the quoted tweet had an image of a goat further heightened speculations, as Lionel Messi is often described using the ‘GOAT’ moniker in online and social media debates over who the greatest player is in history.
This tweet had massive engagements and got over 3,000 comments under an hour, with the majority hoping that this was an indication that Manchester City were about to sign a ‘GOAT’ footballer whose abilities are out of this world.
Ultimately, it turned out to be a false dawn, as the new signing happened to be the addition of the official City mascot ‘Moonchester’ to the E-sports rank and fans could not hide their disappointment that it was not who they expected it to be.
What a signing!! 🔥🔥#WelcomeMoonchester 🐐
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 26, 2020
This has not stopped the rumor mills from spinning and reports have emerged that Messi made a phone call to Pep Guardiola a few days ago over the potential of a move to the Premier League, with Manchester City reportedly ready to sell Gabriel Jesus to fund a move.
How would Lionel Messi fit in at Man City?
If Messi does complete a move to Manchester City, he would instantly strengthen the side and boost their chances of winning a long-awaited maiden Champions League crown, while also increasing their marketability and fan base around the world.
Pep Guardiola would immediately seek to build his side around the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and while City might have a complete squad full of world-class players, none are close to the abilities of Lionel Messi.
The 33-year-old is unarguably the most creative player of his generation and although Kevin de Bruyne could stake a claim as the next most creative player in the world, Messi has the advantage of also combining his creativity with goal scoring.
It was under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola that the Barcelona man blossomed into a world-beater and he made history by winning the Ballon d’Or in each of the four years that he spent under the management of the current City boss.
Messi enjoyed particular success playing as a ‘false nine’ at Camp Nou and if Gabriel Jesus does depart, this would leave Sergio Aguero as the only recognized central striker, further paving the way for his international teammate to operate centrally.
It is no hidden secret that Messi’s goal returns have dropped in recent years and one of the reasons for this has been the increased pressure on him to act as both the creator and chief goalscorer for the Blaugrana.
The Rosario native constantly dropped deep in a bid to influence proceedings from midfield, as since the departures of Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, the Catalans have lacked creativity from midfield, leading to reduced chances for the forwards.
He would have no such problems at Manchester City. As already touched upon, Kevin de Bruyne is a bonafide world-class midfielder that possesses a knack for slicing open opposition defenses with his pin-point passing and accurate crossing.
The Belgian international seemingly creates chances at will and equaled the Premier League record for most assists in a season last campaign, while also winning the Playmaker award for the second time.
Last season, the 29-year-old led the way in big chances created with 33 chances and beyond him, the Cityzens also have several other creative outlets including Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden, evidenced by the fact that Manchester City created 101 chances in the 2019/20 campaign(20 more than second-placed Chelsea managed).
With the aspect of chance creation settled, this would enable Messi to focus mostly on putting the ball into the back of the net, while his extra star power would see him attract the attention of more defenders, therefore opening space for his teammates to exploit.
The last has surely not been heard of the Lionel Messi saga.