have been paying big money to sign some of the world's biggest stars in recent years, but a new book reveals that they once accidentally made a £30 million bid for Barcelona
forward Lionel Messi.
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The club were bought by Sheik Mansour in August 2008 and, on the day of the takeover, he was keen to show his intentions by bringing in a star name.
They eventually signed Robinho from Real Madrid for £32.5m, but earlier in the day were still searching for a suitable addition after failing in bids for Fernando Torres and Dimitar Berbatov.
"An executive made a comment like, 'it's all getting messy'," former chief executive Garry Cook recalls in 'The Manchester City Years' as club officials in Manchester, London and Abu Dhabi attempted to do business via telephone.
"Via the phone lines and the other communication lines, this somehow translated into 'get Messi'. An offer was made for Lionel Messi of about £30m. Needless to say, it was rejected."
It did not put the new owners off chasing big-name signings, as they failed with a bid for Kaka the following January and have in recent years signed the likes of Carlos Tevez, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero.