- FC Barcelona is scrambling to tie Lionel Messi down to a new contract.
- The Argentine will become a free agent in just two days time.
- Guillem Balague says there is not yet “agreement on all the points of a very complicated contract.”
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The Argentine forward, who attempted to leave the Camp Nou last summer, will see his current deal expire on June 30.
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, both parties are working on the “final details” of a new two-year deal, with the club “confident” that it will be able to officially announce the agreement next week.
-Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 27, 2021
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, however, says the proposed deal is far from finalized.
Balague told the BBC that in order to keep Messi, Barcelona will have to reduce its wage bill by around $240 million (€200 million) in order to meet La Liga’s Financial Fair Play requirements.
In January, it was reported that the Catalan club has a total of $1.4 billion in debt and that it made a loss of $117 million in the 2020 financial year.
Barcelona is negotiating directly with Messi’s father and representative, Jorge Messi, but the two parties are yet to come to an “agreement on all the points of a very complicated contract,” Balague says.
Balague says the conversation has “urgently accelerated” in recent days with Barcelona and Messi aware of interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain.
The 34-year-old has “not negotiated” with any other clubs, however, and is instead holding out for the right deal that will keep him at the club at which he has spent his whole professional career.
“Nobody expects any other resolution than Messi staying at the club,” Balague said.
Barcelona endured a topsy-turvy 2020/21 campaign following the appointment of Ronald Koeman as manager last summer.
By December, the club was 12 points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid and was in turmoil off the pitch, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu having resigned amid a fall out with Messi.
However the Catalans produced a remarkable second half of the season, losing just three times in 28 games to finish third behind eventual winners Atletico and rival Real Madrid.
Messi finished the season as La Liga’s top scorer for the eighth time in his career, having hit 30 goals in 35 matches.