Barcelona president insists Messi contract talks going well
FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta is sitting under the mounting pressure of getting Lionel Messi’s new contract signed, sealed and delivered. The saga has extended past the expiration of his previous contract, and fans are getting restless about the situation. However, Laporta has once again reiterated that “everything is going well.”
On Thursday, Laporta found himself in the hot seat in front of media once again when he attended a gala dinner for “The Koeman Cup,” a charity golf tournament organised by Barcelona’s head coach, Ronald Koeman.
It was inevitable for Laporta to be asked about the Argentine superstar’s future, and the president responded by saying “everything is fine,” as quoted by Marca. Beside him, both Koeman and club vice president Rafael Yuste shared a laugh. The trio might have found the question slightly amusing, but club members who voted for Laporta are not amused.
Four months since he was elected Barcelona president, Laporta is still unable to seal the deal with Messi. It may be remembered that he based his campaign largely on the promise that he will be able to convince the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to stay with the club. Messi’s previous contract has since lapsed, and the Argentine is now a free agent.
The clock is ticking on the summer transfer window, and no extension has been signed. Observers can see the club’s attempts to offload a large number of players in order to accommodate the Argentine, but the funds that are being generated and the players being sold are clearly nowhere near enough to significantly lower the club’s wage bill.
Barcelona is desperately trying to offload players including big names like Antoine Griezmann. They have already shipped out a number of fringe players, but they are having difficulty moving some high earners out of the roster.
The club needs to free up more space in order to be able to sign Messi and still stay within La Liga Santander’s financial fair play salary limits. The latest exit is by Carles Alena, who has been sold to Getafe for five million euros. However, that amount barely scratches the surface of the 200 million euros that the club needs to free up.
Barcelona are also facing a lawsuit from Matheus Fernandes, whose contract they terminated prematurely in order to free themselves of his salary payments for next season.