Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola won't be reunited anytime soon

Pep Guardiola has denied Manchester City offered Lionel Messi a signing bonus of €100m (£88m) as part of a huge Bosman deal.

Reports in Spanish sports daily Marca claimed that City owner Sheikh Mansour himself made the offer, bypassing intermediaries, that also contained a €50m (£44m) annual salary.

Messi ended up extending his Barcelona contract, as he had always intended to do, and Guardiola claimed on Tuesday that reports of City’s massive offer were “not true.”

“That was never going to happen,” he added.

City will, however, make another bid for former Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez next month after failing to sign the Chilean in the summer.

Arsene Wenger’s position is still that Arsenal do not want to sell despite the 28-year-old’s contract running out at the end of the season, but that stance was shown to be malleable in the summer when the London club ultimately agreed to sell the striker on the provision that they would be able to bring in a replacement.

The same view is understood to stand now, although Arsenal would still not let Sanchez go cheaply.

City are aware they will likely to have to come in with a big offer, if also to avoid the situation going to the wire in the way it did in August, and are prepared to do so even though the player will be available on a free in the summer.

The two clubs had finally agreed a deal on summer transfer deadline day, only for Arsenal to pull out when negotiations for a possible replacement in Monaco’s Thomas Lemar broke down.

The expectation is that City could still have to pay over £50m to get Sanchez in January.

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