Wayne Rooney thinks that Liverpool signing Thiago Alcantara would be a better signing than Lionel Messi moving to Manchester City.
City have reportedly opened talks with Barcelona after the 33-year-old informed the Spanish club that he wished to leave.
Meanwhile, Thiago will leave Bayern Munich if a suitable offer comes in with just a year left on his contract.
Speaking on talkSPORT, former Everton and Manchester United forward Rooney said: "I think it is City or Liverpool [for the title]. Man United have a lot of potential in the players they have got but I still think they are a year away. Chelsea with the new signings will possibly need a year to get everyone on the same songsheet.
"So I do think it is between City and Liverpool. And if Liverpool get Thiago from Bayern Munich, I think it is done.
"That is a better signing than Messi going to Man City."
Messi may be able to leave Barcelona for nothing after attempting to trigger a clause in his contract that lets him leave at the end of this season, though the club believes the clause refers to the date of a regular season.
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Rooney believes that 33-year-old Messi is still a special player despite his advancing years, and that he could be enough to make the difference for City next season.
"I know Messi getting older but he's a player who no one has seen before," Rooney explained.
"Messi has everything – he can create goals, score goals, dictate the game and is the best player of all time.
"If he can come to the Premier League, whatever team it is and I believe it's only Manchester United and Manchester City that can sign him… well, I'd take Messi at United.
"He's one of the only players I've sat there and watched and just been in awe of.
"Don't get me wrong, I played with Cristiano and the two of them have set a standard I don't think we'll ever see again. But, for me, Messi is just different level."
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