The Mirror says the Nou Camp outfit are braced to finally let their icon leave at the end of this season.
The 33-year-old was on the verge of quitting in the recent window after becoming disillusioned with Barcelona's stuttering form and controversial leadership – but had been prevented from walking away due to the prospect of a court battle.
It took a searching conversation with Ronald Koeman to convince him to pledge his future to his boyhood team for one more year despite the sensational, and damaging, fallout from his transfer request.
City appeared in pole position to complete the sensational swoop had Messi been able to leave.
Their chief operating officer, Omar Berrarda, recently admitted that the Etihad giants will once again be ready to move in next summer.