According to multiple sources, Lionel Messi has agreed to sign a new contract with Barcelona which should see his wages reduced to 50% of the amount he was earning under the terms of the old one. The official confirmation, however, is still delayed until the Catalan club sort out their financial problems to a level required to make it happen.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner came very close to leaving the Camp Nou last summer, when his disagreements with then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu reached the point where he openly asked to leave. His old contract had a clause that would have allowed him to do so on a free transfer each year, but the club pointed out that the clause had expired and demanded that any potential suitor pays a fee of €700 million for his services.
Naturally, no club was able or willing to pay that amount, and he ended up staying put for the final 12 months of the deal, being reluctant to take the matter to court.
The situation at Barcelona has changed since then, with Bartomeu no longer in charge at the club and Joan Laporta appointed in his place. Laporta made it clear from the start he would do his best to keep one of the best players in the world for the last 15 years, and it seems he delivered on the promise, at least in terms of convincing Messi to stay.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have been monitoring the situation closely, ready to pounce if presented with an opportunity.
Barcelona have been working hard to reduce their wage bill lately. They’ve sold left-back Junior Firpo, midfielder Carles Alena and defender Jean-Clair Todibo. Defender Juan Miranda has left for free, while winger Francisco Trincao has been loaned out to Wolverhampton Wanderers with the Premier League side having the option to turn the move permanent next summer. They’re reportedly willing to allow midfielder Miralem Pjanic and defender Samuel Umititi to leave for free, even though both players are still under contract.
It is also believed that they’re open to offers for Antoine Griezmann, whose departure would represent not only a significant income, but also a huge reduction of the wage bill.