With just nine days remaining for FC Barcelona superstar and one of the game’s greatest Lionel Messi to sign a new contract with the Blaugrana, speculation has been fierce on what is really going on.
President Joan Laporta has categorically stated time and again that Messi will remain at Camp Nou, and contract negotiations have been progressing well. However, the prolonged time period and the opacity of the deal has meant that there is still no clear answer on what might happen after June 30th.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED?
Messi came really close to leaving Barcelona last year and was even linked to clubs across Europe. His relationship with former supremo Josep Bartomeu had completely broken down due to a series of allegations and scandals. Only the possibility of having to fight his club in court led to Messi belatedly staying in Spain for the remaining one year of his contract.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 4, 2020
Since then, Bartomeu has long gone and Laporta has promised since his election campaign that Messi is not going anywhere. Furthermore, the past two seasons have not been the greatest for him professionally either. Barcelona lost the race for the league title in limping circumstances, especially more damning this time around. Their Copa del Rey victory was the one silver lining for the club and the addition of yet another Pichichi trophy.
🏆🆙 RAISE IT HIGH! pic.twitter.com/QqqeQ8aN9S
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 17, 2021
Time and again it was felt that the 33-year-old was having to do everything on his own and that real support around him was lacking. It was often Messi who had to inspire his teammates on the pitch, while his genius earned them a lot more wins than otherwise would have been possible. As soon as the season got over, all eyes were on the Blaugrana and what they did with Messi this year.
Keeping the Argentine superstar was always the priority, and with that in mind, Laporta got to work. Barcelona is in terrible shape financially and had to take a loan in order to pay outstanding salaries and other costs from last year. Laporta admitted that it is worse than he had previously thought as an audit is still going on.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has secured a €100 million loan from an American investment bank to settle outstanding payments owed to players, sources have told ESPN. https://t.co/9vwXPIpN0e
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 18, 2021
Nevertheless, they have still made some key moves already to bolster the pieces around Messi. Signings like his international teammate and Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero, promising young defender Eric Garcia, and Dutch talisman Memphis Depay from Lyon. All of them came as free agents, which further amplifies how bad the money situation is at Camp Nou.
Though it is increasingly unlikely that any transfer fees can be paid for any incoming player, these additions to the club are surely a step in the right direction in convincing their star man to remain.
ALL EYES ON MESSI
There has been a lot of news coming from Laporta and the club, including the fact that Messi’s new contract has been proposed a while ago. With Messi being away for Copa America duty, the two camps have been in constant touch in order to finalise the deal.
Even new signing Sergio Aguero has been urging Messi to sign the deal, which is seen as another positive indication. Reports stated earlier this month that the new deal offered includes a two-year stay at Camp Nou followed by stints at Inter Miami in the United States and on the board of Barcelona.
However, a possible roadblock in the renewal could be Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. Laporta admitted that there need to be more outgoings at the club, especially through loans.
This has to be done in order to balance its books and keep away from sanctions. Therefore, it is not as clear cut as either party would have wanted but the final decision is just a few days away. No matter the answer, it will have ramifications for all involved.