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Lionel Messi remains the best player on the planet and would have no problem adapting to English football, says Gael Clichy, but the former Manchester City defender is not convinced the Citizens need to be taking a calculated risk on the Barcelona superstar.
He will be free to speak with his many suitors from January, with City – who have former Barca boss Pep Guardiola at their helm – among those expected to lead the chase for a much sought-after signature.
Clichy can appreciate why Citywould be keen on an Argentine icon, but believes there are a number of questions to be asked before any approach is made.
“Can he do it in England? I believe he can because quality is quality and he will have a team shaped around him. Guardiola knows him better than any other manager. He can be a success.
“Is it risky? Yes, it is. Time will tell. Can City do better? If they can, maybe they can attract someone like Messi.”
Clichy added: “Do the fans want him at the club? Obviously. Does the manager want him? Probably. The president? Probably. Is it the right choice, the right solution? Who knows. People are saying he is past his peak. I still see him as the best player in the world.
“Would he be a plus for English football? Definitely. We can only predict something when it’s there.
“Messi will improve any team and if comes to City with Guardiola, the team will be shaped around him. Can he cope with the schedule and the weather? Who knows. It’s exciting news if it becomes real.
“What they did together at Barcelona was magical and you just hope that those two can be reunited. You think about Kevin De Bruyne, Messi, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero all together, you are dreaming. Would it be the right solution? I’m not sure.”
Links to Messi have intensified at City following the news that Guardiola – who spent many trophy-laden years working with the mercurial Argentine in Catalunya – has committed to a new two-year contract.
Clichy was not surprised to see that deal agreed, saying: “The money they have invested, have they replaced Vincent Kompany, have they replaced Yaya Toure, have they replaced David Silva? Right now, no, but they have invested and the future is bright for City.
“For the manager, the project that City have and being after that Champions League trophy, he wouldn’t want to leave now. This is his team. He has got the players he wants.
“He has had injuries, Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, but the team is strong and in a few years it will still be strong. That’s what you want, the chance to get that trophy that the club is missing.
“No manager could bring more than Guardiola at the moment. You can argue that he always left when we thought he wouldn’t at previous clubs, but I think it’s the right decision to stay.