Lionel Messi's father, Jorge, is advising his son to stall on any contract negotiations until the Catalan club make Sergio Aguero their premier target this summer, according to the Daily Express.
Barcelona's technical director Andoni Zubizarreta has apparently responded, placing Messi's Argentine compatriot at the top of their wish list.
City are said to be reluctant to sanction a deal for the former Atletico forward, despite persistent injury problems that restricted him to just 22 league appearances this season.
Aguero's current contract runs until 2017, so any bid would have to be astronomical to pique the interest of City's executive board.
Intriguingly, the Citizens' well-publicised interest in Messi is being used by Jorge as a bargaining chip in his son's contract renewal discussions, with City waiting in the wings to capitalise on any hiccups along the way.
City are prepared to put the four-time Ballon d'Or winner on a staggering £340,000-a-week deal in an attempt to lure him to the Etihad.
Any comparable deal offered by the Spanish club would be subject to new tax legislations that come into action next year, so City have the upper hand in that regard.