Pellegrini refuses to discuss ‘Messi to Man City’ rumours

first_img Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been linked with a move to Manchester City Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has refused to discuss fresh rumours linking Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi with an Etihad Stadium switch.Reports on Friday suggested the club had met with the Argentine ace’s agent to begin discussions over an audacious £800,000-per-week contract offer.But, following successive defeats, City boss Pellegrini insists Saturday’s clash with Southampton is his priority, not fuelling speculation over a Messi mega-deal.Asked about the Messi offer claims at his latest press conference, Pellegrini said: “I don’t talk about rumours. I think every manager in the world would like Lionel Messi.”When pressed further, Pellegrini – who was similarly reluctant to talk about reports linking Pep Guardiola with his job – said simply: “I think we must win against Southampton.”The Blues boss also confirmed he will have to make do without Joe Hart for the Southampton clash, with the England goalkeeper set for around ten days out with a hamstring injury picked up in the Champions League.The absence of Hart means third-choice Richard Wright, the 38-year-old former England international, will be on the City bench. He last played in the top flight for Everton nine years ago and has not played a competitive game at any level since appearing for Ipswich in 2011.On the positive side, David Silva and Wilfried Bony are available again as City look to bounce back from last week’s Premier League mauling by Liverpool and Wednesday’s defeat at Juventus in Europe.City slipped to third in the Premier League table after their 4-1 hammering by Liverpool, but with top two Leicester and Manchester United playing each other, they have a chance to make up ground this weekend.The loss of Hart, who has been in fine form this season, is undoubtedly a blow but Pellegrini has confidence in his replacement Willy Caballero.Pellegrini said: “I think he will be around ten days out. Fortunately it is not a very serious injury but it is a muscle injury so it is important for him to recover well.“But I never complain about players who are injured. That is why we have a squad. We lost Joe in a very good moment but it is what happens. I trust a lot in Willy Caballero. I am sure he will have a good performance in these games.”Meanwhile, the return of Silva provides a big lift after a nine-game absence with an ankle problem while the availability of Bony increases attacking options at a time when Sergio Aguero still lacks match-sharpness.Pellegrini said: “David is a very important player, the same as Kun – one of the players that is very difficult to replace. I hope both of them can recover.” 1last_img

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