Manchester City are working behind the scenes to see if a move can be made for Lionel Messi in a way which would not breach Financial Fair Play rulings.
According to ESPN, Pep Guardiola and the City hierarchy are eager to pull off what would be one of the biggest transfers in the history of the sport.
Despite the Argentine enjoying another stellar campaign, Barcelona have had a dreadful season in which they have failed to win silverware for the first time in 12 years.
After surrendering La Liga to a competent if unspectacular Real Madrid side, they were emphatically dumped out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage after a 8-2 destruction from the eventual tournament winners, Bayern.
Following that loss, head coach Quique Setien was sacked and replaced by Ronald Koeman.
One of Koeman's initial jobs was to try and convince Messi to stay, but in those discussions the player allegedly told his new boss that he would not commit to his future at the club.
As well as poor performances on the pitch, Messi is disillusioned with how the club is being run at boardroom level, and has butted heads with club officials this season, including director of football Eric Abidal who has now been dismissed.
It has been a tumultuous season for City, too, as they also failed to win any major trophies, while they were also given a ban on Champions League football due to sponsorship irregularities which has now been lifted.
The report which gave the initial ban highlighted financial aspects of the club which impacted Financial Fair Play.
Therefore, in order to justify a swoop for Messi, club officials are working to see how it could be done without attracting further ire from UEFA.
Barcelona are naturally keen to keep their greatest ever goalscorer and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, with them pointing potential suitors to his €700m release clause.