Manchester United have reportedly given up on their pursuit of Argentina legend Lionel Messi, according to The Sun.
The Premier League side, who currently sit sixth in the English top-flight and host Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, have admitted defeat in trying their luck at luring the FC Barcelona hero to The Theatre of Dreams, despite the forward stalling on a new deal with the La Liga giants.
The 29-year-old, who has 116 international caps for his country, has already scored an impressive 16 goals and provided seven assists in 14 appearances for Barca so far this season.
Messi, who has been with the Nou Camp outfit since 2001, is understood to have been offered a new mega-contract worth a remarkable £825,000-a-week.
However, his reluctance to put pen to paper has alerted the Red Devils, as well as the likes of Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and several Chinese clubs.
But the report suggests United would not be able to afford Messi, therefore giving rivals and fellow potential suitors Manchester City the upper hand.