Lionel Messi may be Barcelona through and through but the five-time Ballon d'Or winner knows exactly what he is worth and is refusing to be shortchanged by the club he has dragged to immortality.
Currently, Messi is enjoying a weekly wage of £313,000-a-week, which also includes several bonuses for on-pitch success. But that contract is set to expire in 2018 and both the player and the club believe it is high-time for a renewal.
They have been discussing terms for some time but up until now it has been widely assumed that a deal would eventually be reached. Alas, there is a problem and talks appear to have stalled over a disagreement.
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According to The Sun, Messi is demanding a three-year extension on his current deal and wants the same wage throughout that time. But the new deal would take Messi all the way to his 34th birthday and Barcelona are concerned that his inevitable decline will leave them paying over the odds in the future.
Club president Josep Bartomeu has told Messi that the club simply cannot afford the wages he is demanding but Messi and his father, who acts as his agent, are refusing to back down. Hence the stalling.
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Manchester City on alert
That has, inevitably, put Manchester City on alert. With Pep Guardiola set to take charge in the summer, The Sun believes that the billionaire owners are keen to bring Messi in as well, so much so that they are willing to pay the Argentine £800,000-a-week.
They are also happy to give him the five-year agreement that he is asking from Barcelona, but whether the entirety of that contract would see him earn £800,000-a-week is not clear.
That would certainly be enough to turn Messi's head, who will not only be able to reunite with Guardiola but would also get the chance to play alongside his best friend Sergio Aguero.
Guardiola will have a mammoth amount of money to spend in the summer but signing Messi would take a huge chunk out of his reported £300m budget. With a £250m release clause in his Barcelona contract, the Spanish manager would have to compromise on his other business to bring Messi to the Etihad.
This all comes down to how much Barcelona believe they need Messi. They lost him for two months early in the season but appeared to manage perfectly fine with Neymar and Luis Suarez stepping to the fore.
Neymar is certainly proving he has the potential to emulate Messi while offloading him for a world-record fee this summer would spell an end to their ongoing financial concerns. If Messi doesn't climb down from his demands, he could find himself pushed out of the Camp Nou before he can jump.
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