The Argentinian superstar has not turned up for training under new Barca boss Ronald Koeman and City have been installed as the favourites to sign him.
Messi's existing relationship with manager Pep Guardiola and the fact the club's cash rich owners would be able to afford him make it easy to see why.
Now, according to the Daily Record's Duncan Castles, the City Football Group have agreed a deal with Messi which will see him earn around €700m (£623m) over a five-year period.
The deal would see Messi employed by the group rather than one specific football club and the report states that he would spend three years at Manchester City before moving to the MLS to join their sister club New York City FC.
The report quotes a source close to the player as saying: "Messi thinks Guardiola took the best football out of him, and he wants to repeat that."
Messi believes he can leave Barcelona for free after activating a clause in his contract but the club and La Liga are adamant that it expired in June.
Get the latest transfer news straight into your inbox!
Want to be on the ball with Jadon Sancho to Manchester United updates? Or perhaps you're a Chelsea fan wondering who on earth could join next?
Well then sign up for the brilliant new Daily Star Sport email newsletter!
From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.
How do you sign up?
It only takes a matter of seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article and hit 'subscribe'.
And that's it, job done. You'll receive an email with all of the top news stories every single morning.
You can find out more information on our email newsletter on this link here.
The clause allows Messi to leave for free if he formally states so within 20 days of the conclusion of the La Liga season but the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic means there is some debate about whether the clause has indeed expired.
La Liga's statement on the situation read: "With regard to the different interpretations (some of which are contradictory) relating to the current contractual situation of FC Barcelona footballer Lionel Andres Messi that have been published across various media outlets in recent days, having analysed the player's contract with the club, La Liga would like to clarify the following.
"The contract is currently valid and contains a release clause which is applicable should Lionel Messi decide to trigger the early unilateral termination of the contract, in accordance with article 16 of Royal Decree 1006/1985 of 26 June, which regulates the special employment status that professional sportspeople have.
"In compliance with the applicable regulations and protocol that apply in such instances, La Liga will not carry out the prior visa-release process for the player to be unregistered from the (Royal Spanish Football) Federation if the sum in the aforementioned clause has not been paid beforehand."