Manchester City would go ‘hell for leather’ to sign Lionel Messi next season – but only if Pep Guardiola isn’t still the club’s manager.

That is the view of Spain-based journalist Graham Hunter, who believes the City boss will have doubts about where the 33-year-old would fit into his system at the Etihad.

Recent reports have suggested that Messi may be willing to quit Barcelonawhen his contract ends in 2021.

It is believed the Argentina superstar is fed up with the way the club is being run and is open to a new challenge.

“The number one club who has tried to take Lionel Messi away from Barcelona is Manchester City under their current ownership,” Hunter told talkSPORT.

“If the ownership has the idea of taking a 34-year-old Leo Messi, still in prime condition, one year after his final Ballon d’Or if he doesn’t win it again this season.

“I think Guardiola has doubts about how well Messi will work in the system because of the level of pressure and work off the ball.

“He’s allowed to do what he wants at Barcelona but if Guardiola moved on and Messi was free in a years time, Man City’s ownership would go hell for leather to sign him.”