Gary Neville says he would ‘love’ to see Lionel Messi playing for Manchester United, but is worried the Barcelona magician could head to City instead.
The 33-year-old Barca legend stunned the football world when he handed in a transfer request last week.
The transfer rumour mill has been in full swing ever since, with both Manchester clubs and PSG frontrunners for his signature.
However, City are considered the strong favourites, given Messi’s ties to former Nou Camp chief Pep Guardiola.
Indeed, a report from Duncan Castles has claimed the Etihad outfit will sign the Argentine on a five-year deal.
But he will not stay at City for the full five years, instead moving to sister-club New York City in 2023/24.
At this stage it also remains to be seen if anyone will have to pay his €700million (£632m) release clause.
And, although Neville hopes to see his old club strike a deal, he admits it is highly unlikely.
“United need a new centre forward. I would love Lionel Messi to come, but I think he is more likely to go to Manchester City,’ Neville told Stadium Astro, as cited by Metro.
“[If he does come to the Premier League] it will be the biggest story in Premier League history, and I cannot overstate it.
“The idea of Messi being in Manchester will be huge for the country and the league.
“It will bring in the most media attention and scrutiny to the league. It will be simply fascinating. People will be interested to see how he will play in a different league and environment.”
Neville still dreaming of Sancho deal
Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho is another top target linked with a switch to Old Trafford.
But despite the German club ruling out a switch last month, the player himself has yet to do likewise.
To that end, Neville still has hopes that a transfer night happen, adding: “We have just got the centre midfield sorted [with the signing of Donny van de Beek from Ajax].
“We have been linked with Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund all summer. It will be great if we can get him because a right winger is a position we’re lacking in.
“I also think we need a new left-back. Luke Shaw has been injury-prone and I’m not sure if Brandon Williams is the best replacement for him.
“Another position we’re struggling is at the centre-back to partner Harry Maguire. We have been linked with several defenders but there is nothing concrete so far.”
READ MORE: Manchester City are expected to make a new and improved offer for United target Kalidou Koulibaly this week, having agreed to double his wages.
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