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Former Manchester City defender Danny Mills has questioned if Lionel Messi would fit in Pep Guardiola’s system, saying any attempt to land the Barcelona icon this summer is a ‘vanity signing’.
City were believed to be ‘top candidates’ to sign the Argentine great by one of the frontrunners for the Barcelona presidency, after Messi confirmed his intention to leave the club last week. The Manchester club are ready to bring Messi to the Premier League with the offer of a five-year deal worth around £623million.
It would see the 33-year-old spent three years in the English top flight, before heading to MLS club New York City FC – owned by City Football Group – for the remaining two years of the contract.
The ex-England defender Mills says he would do anything to fit the best player in history into his team, but also admits the money City are prepared to pay Messi could be put to better use elsewhere.
Speaking on talkSPORT’s Kick Off, the ex-Man City ace said:
“I look at this and think, where does Messi fit into the team? He’s given a free role at Barcelona, ‘play where you want to play’, but where does Messi play in Pep’s format?
“If you ask me, you have to fit him in because he is the best player in the world, the best I’ve ever seen, he’s sensational. You maybe might have to tinker with the formation and other personnel in the team and get that balance right.
“But it would be a vanity buy, wouldn’t it. That’s all it would be. ‘I want Messi because he’s the best player in the world’.
“When you talk about rebuilding a football team, that £700m in two years’ time is going to be pretty much worthless. You’re not going to get that back for him, even if he goes to China or MLS.
“If I had that money to spend on transfers [at any club], you know what I’d do? I would get Virgil van Dijk in immediately, £200m or £250m, would Liverpool take that? They probably wouldn’t have a choice, they’d have to.
“Then I’d get Kevin De Bruyne, I’d take him as well for another £200m. So that’s £400 or £450m gone, and then I’d be thinking it’s between Robert Lewandowski or Kylian Mbappe.