With ex-Barcelona trio Ferran Soriano, Txiki Begiristain and Pep Guardiola in place as Chief Executive Officer, Director of Football and Head Coach, Manchester City fans could be forgiven for getting giddy over their fully-crystallised link with the La Liga giants.
The Premier League’s kings of the nouveau riche have clearly been building up to this position for some time, with former Barca president Sandro Rosell claiming in 2013 that City had “attempted to entice a number of staff from Camp Nou” following Soriano and Begiristain’s arrival in 2012.
Landing Guardiola last February, with the photogenic 45-year-old arriving at the start of July, was surely the greatest prize of them all after the former Blaugrana chief’s double Champions League-winning spell at the Camp Nou helm.
That being said, the Citizens’ multi-billionaire owners Abu Dhabi United Group still look some way off capturing the trophy they crave above all judging by performances last term, with then-boss Manuel Pellegrini’s side poor losing semi-finalists against eventual winners Real Madrid.
Former Guardiola talisman Lionel Messi has long been thought City’s dream signing, and after the 29-year-old’s rocky last few months in the Spanish dock on tax fraud charges, along with retirement from Argentina duty, his situation has never seemed more fluid.
Joan Laporta, another erstwhile Camp Nou president who handed Guardiola the Barca job eight years ago, recently took to Catalunya Radio to helpfully muddy the waters further with the below quote:
“There are certain powers who want Messi to no longer be a Barca player.
“The club has let the player down, the best player in history, the best player in the world. We have a president and a board that didn’t accompany him when he had to testify in court.”
Of course, this could be the carefully-planned opening salvo in a ‘Laporta for Barca President 2021’ bid, or the ramblings of an embittered man, but City would do well to take note.
Saying that, with their clear connections to ‘Brand Barca’, there’s no doubt Guardiola and co are already keeping an eye on the situation.
Man City are 12/1 with bwin to win the Champions League for the first time in 2016/17.