Lionel Messi has reportedly told his old mentor, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, he intends to leave Barcelona.
Guardiola, who was Messi's boss for four years at Barcelona, told the player he would speak to City's owners about signing him, The Times said in a report on Friday.
Websites Goal and Spox said on Thursday a phone call had taken place between Messi and Guardiola.
The Times said this was further indication City are in pole position to sign the sought-after 33-year-old.
City chief executive Ferran Soriano is already in Catalonia, where he intends to speak to Messi's father, Jorge, in the coming week, the report said.
Messi played under Guardiola from 2008 to 2012. The pair won two Champions League titles together, among a welter of other trophies.
Argentinian newspaper La Nacion said Messi could sign a so-called "three-plus-two" contract with City.
That would see him stay for three years in Manchester before moving to City's sister club, New York City FC, in America's Major League Soccer.
Messi has filed a registered document with Barcelona stating he wants to leave the club for free, but the Catalans do not believe he can exercise the clause in his contract that allowed him to do so before June 10.
The player has been angry in recent years because of the club's failure to compete for the Champions League, which they last won in 2015.