Lionel Messi news comes at a delicate time for Harry Kane in Man City and Tottenham’s transfer standoff

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Manchester City’s interest in Lionel Messi likely deterred the Premier League champions from pursuing Harry Kane last summer, so the news that the Barcelona star will not renew his contract is likely to leave the England captain sweating in his Florida hideout.

As of Thursday afternoon, Messi is the best-ever free agent in the history of the game and his availability could spark this summer's transfer merry-go-round into overdrive, even if there are only a handful of clubs who could afford the 34-year-old.

Man City are clearly among them and their COO Omar Berrada revealed back in October they have "the financial strength" to sign Messi, and indicated the club would consider an approach an approach if he became available this summer.

A renewal of their interest in the Argentine superstar would not necessarily rule out a move for Kane, but it is hard to imagine even the state-funded club signing both forwards in the same summer as Jack Grealish, whose £100million move from Aston Villa was confirmed on the same evening as Barca’s shock announcement regarding Messi.

For Kane, who remains AWOL from Spurs and on holiday in Florida in a bid to force through a move to City, the fear may be that Messi will now consume City’s focus.

Last summer, Kane agitated for a move away from Spurs but City had their sights set firmly on Messi, which contributed to Kane's decision to stay at his boyhood club for a further season.

Twelve months on, the 28-year-old is more determined than ever to force his way out of Spurs, demonstrated by his surprising decision to go on strike.

 (PA)
(PA)

As it stands, City remain equally determined to pursue a deal with Spurs, having already already indicated they would pay £100m plus players in part-exchange, but a transfer remains fraught with difficulties.

Spurs have little interest in selling Kane, particularly not to a Premier League rival, and it would take a record-breaking fee to prize him away from north London.

City's £100m purchase of Grealish and Romelu Lukaku's possible return to Chelsea in a deal worth even more is only likely to strengthen Spurs resolve to demand an eye-watering figure for their homegrown talisman, who is under contract for another three years.

For City, the question is whether their appetite for Kane is strong enough for negotiations with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy - and that resolve will surely be tested if Messi indicates a willingness to be reunited with Pep Guardiola.

Messi's situation is likely to become clearer in the coming days and there is surely a possibility that he could still remain a Barcelona player.

The Catalan club claimed they had agreed a five-year contract extension with Messi but were unable to register him with La Liga due to "financial and structural obstacles".

 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Their announcement may prove to be a power-play in their battle with the Spanish authorities, who will be wary of the impact of losing their biggest asset to another league.

There is also the likely involvement of Paris Saint-Germain, another of the clubs who could easily afford Messi's salary, which is thought to be in the region of €1m-a-week.

For Kane and his representatives, however, there must be concern that Messi's availability could scupper their plans and see history repeating itself.

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