Former Premier League midfielder Trevor Sinclair thinks the prospect of Lionel Messi joining Manchester City may be the reason behind the failed attempts to get Kevin de Bruyne to sign a new deal.
City are desperate for the Belgian playmaker to extend his stay at the Etihad, with De Bruyne's current contract expiring in 2023.
The 29-year-old rejected their first offer, however, and is said to believe he is worth a higher wage given his reputation as arguably the best player in the Premier League.
City have been strongly linked with a move for six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi, who is set to leave Barcelona at the end of the season.
And speaking to talkSPORT, Sinclair suggested Messi's mammoth wage demands may be the reason behind City's reluctance to pay De Bruyne what he is asking for.
"De Bruyne hasn’t even got an agent, he’s acting for himself, which I think is fantastic," Sinclair said.
"He knows his worth; if you don’t know your worth at 29-years old then you’ve got something wrong.
"But what he might’ve said is that he wants to be the top-paid player regardless of who comes in. That’s a problem for City if they’re serious about signing Messi.
"De Bruyne’s wages could go up an astronomical amount if he wants to be on bigger wages than Messi."
Sinclair appears confident that Messi could well soon be reunited with Pep Guardiola in what would be a stunning move for his former side.
When asked if he thinks the transfer could really happen, he replied: "I do, yeah. There’s been a bit of a lull, but I don’t think he felt comfortable leaving over the summer.
"He’s keeping his head down, working hard, but when it comes to the end of the season, there’s a clause in his contract whereby if he activates it at a certain time in the year, he goes on a free.
"There will be a lot of clubs interested… Man City and PSG, he just takes your club to another level.
"It’s a completely different ball park."
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