Lionel Messi to Man City: Guardiola's contract means City's XI next season could be incredible

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Pep Guardiola has signed a new contract at Manchester City until the summer of 2023.

City confirmed the news which means the Spaniard could be set to extend his reign at the Etihad to seven years following his arrival in 2016.

After signing the new deal, Guardiola said:  “Ever since I arrived at Manchester City I have been made to feel so welcome in the Club and in the city itself- from the players, the staff, the supporters, the people of Manchester and the Chairman and Owner. 

"Since then we have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we are all very proud of that success.

“Having that kind of support is the best thing any manager can have. I have everything I could possibly want to do my job well and I am humbled by the confidence the Owner, Chairman, Ferran and Txiki have shown in me to continue for two more years after this season.

“The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving, and I am very excited and about helping Manchester City do that.”

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But even before the ink had dried on Guardiola’s new contract, thoughts turned to the possible arrival of Lionel Messi.

Messi had been linked with a sensational reunion with Guardiola last summer as they tried to force through an exit from Barcelona.

The move ultimately fell through but rumours continue to swirl surrounding Messi’s long-term future.

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His contract expires at the end of the season and he’s free to negotiate a contract with a foreign club in January. City could look to agree a fee for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner in the winter transfer window - a scenario which looks even more likely given Guardiola has now pledged his future to the club.

So, how could City line-up next season with both Guardiola and Messi on board?

Let’s take a look:

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Goalkeeper - Ederson

Right-back - Kyle Walker
Centre-back - Ruben Diaz
Centre-back - Aymeric Laporte
Left-back - Nicolas Tagliafico

Midfield - Phil Foden
Midfield - Rodri
Midfield - Kevin de Bruyne

Left-wing - Raheem Sterling
Right-wing - Lionel Messi
Striker - Lautaro Martinez

Look at how ridiculously good that XI is.

Diaz and Laporte have the potential to form a formidable centre-back pairing, while Walker has impressed this season. But there is a real need for a new left-back and signing fellow Argentine Tagliafico - worth £25 million - would certainly please Messi. The Sun claimed City would target the Ajax man in January.

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Foden should be a first-team regular come next season and a midfield trio of him, Rodri and De Bruyne form a lovely balance.

Sterling would keep his place on the left with Messi operating from the right. While Messi may not be too impressed if Guardiola looks to replace his mate Aguero, he will be delighted to see another Argentine in Lautaro - worth £63m - join him in Manchester. Eurosport mentioned City's possible interest in Martinez in today's report.

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That would leave the likes of Nathan Ake, Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho, John Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko on the sidelines.

If Guardiola doesn’t win the league with that league, he will forever be known as ‘Fraudiola'...

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