Manchester City Chief Operating Officer Omar Berrada has said the club has the financial capabilities to sign Barcelona star Lionel Messi in next summer’s transfer window.

City had been the front runner for Messi’s signature after the Argentine attempted to leave Barcelona on free transfer some weeks ago.

It was understood that 33-year-old favored City because of his ties with current boss Pep Guardiola who was his former boss at Barcelona.

However, Messi made a U-turn after a rift with the club’s board and decided to see out his contract at Nou Camp which expires in 2021.

According to Berrada, will be ready to pounce should Messi allow his contract with Barcelona to expire next summer.

He told the Manchester Evening News: “He’s the best player in the world, he’s the best player of his generation. I think any club in the world would like to explore the possibility of him joining their team.

“He’s probably an exception to potential investments that we’d do… but our planning has been done with this current squad and it is being considered with the current opportunities that we have.

“For every single position we have to be prepared because there can be so many things that can happen but, at the same time, I think we have the financial strength and system ability to make that investment when required.”

Meanwhile, Athletico Madrid striker and Messi’s close friend Luis Suarez has opened that the six-time Ballon d’or winner can still renew his contract at Barcelona if the club’s board is restructured.

The Uruguayan, who left the club in tears due to the way he was treated, believes Messi can stay beyond his current contract at Barça if president Josep Maria Bartomeu is particularly removed from the club’s board.

“Maybe there’s the possibility of him playing for another club, but if he feels comfortable and happy, and a new board come in, he will want to stay at the club,” Atletico Madrid striker Suarez told ESPN television’s 90 Minutes.

“As a friend I will be happy if things go well for him (at Barca), but also if he goes to another club.”

Bartomeu has called club elections for March 2021 but could be forced out sooner, with a no confidence vote set to be launched against him and the board.