The Etihad team wants to pay to own Lionel Messi to avoid being scammed by another club.
After failing to leave in the summer of 2020, Messi will stay in the final year of his contract with Barca. This means that from January 2021 he can negotiate with other clubs, and leave as a free form during the summer transfer window.
Many clubs are ready to meet all requirements to get Messi. Owning the world’s top star with no transfer fees is a bargain. Therefore, Man City wants to play first.

The Etihad team is ready to pay Barca about 15 million euros (equivalent to 19 million USD) to own Messi in January 2020, when the winter transfer window opens. They believe this move will persuade Barca to release, while avoiding competition from other clubs.
Omar Berrada, CEO of football division of Man City, once asserted that the club had enough financial resources to recruit Messi next year. Owning Pep Guardiola – who was very successful when coaching Messi at Barca – is considered a factor that helps them have an advantage in this race.

PSG is considered a formidable opponent to Man City, both financially and physically. The French champion owns Neymar – a close friend of Messi. Juventus, Chelsea and Man Utd could also jump into the dispute.