Talks between Barcelona and Lionel Messi over a new contract are progressing satisfactorily with club president Joan Laporta having had a meeting with the player’s father and agent, sources told ESPN.
ESPN has confirmed a Catalan TV3 report that Messi has a first informal offer on the table from Barca, one that Laporta presented to Jorge Messi during their meeting. The offer showed the specific financial figures that the Catalan club are ready to pay the Argentinian to continue at the Camp Nou beyond this summer.
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The meeting was “very positive,” a source told ESPN, but Messi, whose contract expires on June 30, wants to wait to find out about the club’s sporting project before making a decision.
ESPN reported last month that Barca president Laporta planned to offer Messi a two-year contract with an option to extend it an additional year to compensate for the wage reduction that the Barca captain would have to accept.
Should Messi agree, he will have the choice to decide whether to continue at Barca after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar or go to MLS.
Messi admitted last December that “his hope is to enjoy and experience life in the United States” and that idea is still in his mind.
According to TV3, Laporta’s final offer would be of a five-year contract but would also give the Argentinian the possibility to end his career in the United States before returning to Barcelona later on to take on a role as a club ambassador.
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Sources close to the negotiations have told to ESPN that Messi’s first option has always been to remain at Barcelona and that he is aware that it would mean having to lower, considerably, his wages, which are currently €70 million net per season.
Nevertheless, the source insists that Messi will prioritise the sporting project over the financial offer and Laporta is looking at different financial options to create a competitive team.
Barca have already assured themselves the signing of Eric Garcia as a free agent and hope in the coming days to confirm the signings of Sergio Aguero and Gini Wijnaldum. Aguero’s contract with Manchester City expires in June and he already has a verbal agreement to play at Barca for the next two seasons. Wijnaldum is expected to sign a three-year deal with Barca once the midfielder’s contract with Liverpool comes to an end next month.
Barca are also working on bringing more reinforcements and searching for a coach, despite the club not having ruled out the possibility that Ronald Koeman will continue for another season due to a lack of consensus at the club regarding possible replacements.
ESPN reported earlier this week that Roberto Martinez is among the candidates being evaluated by Barcelona. Laporta will hold a press conference on Friday to discuss the current situation at the club.
Messi, meanwhile, joined Argentina’s squad on Wednesday to prepare for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the Copa America.
Messi’s father will continue to lead negotiations with Barca in the coming weeks.