Barcelona president Joan Laporta is working on a fresh three-year contract for Lionel Messi to keep their star player at Camp Nou, according to reports.
The 33-year-old Argentina international’s contract at Barcelona expires at the end of June and he has yet to commit his future to the club where he has played since 2000, amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
But ESPN report Laporta – who was re-elected president following last month’s elections – is hoping to convince Messi to stay with a two-year deal and an option for a third year.
But any deal to keep the Argentine playing under boss Ronald Koeman at the club will likely force the player to take a cut to his overall salary.
Laporta, 58, is aware Barcelona cannot afford to pay Messi his current salary of £65million net annually amid the club’s £629m (€730m) debt, but is exploring different ways to bring a package together which is acceptable to the player.
ESPN add the idea is to offer Messi – who also turns 34 in June – a longer deal to ensure he is compensated over several years to negate the immediate slashing of his salary.
The report adds Messi has previously signalled his preference of renewing his deal every year, based on his own feelings and the sporting project in place at the Catalan giants.
The 33-year-old has also stated in December his intention to play in the MLS before he hangs up his boots, telling La Sexta: ‘I always had the dream of being able to enjoy and have the experience of living in the United States and experience what the league there is like.
However, ESPN claim Laporta is increasingly confident of keeping Messi for the foreseeable future, which is in keeping with the confidence he had about his renewal last week.
‘Everything [that has to do with Messi’s renewal] is progressing adequately,’ Laporta told LaSexta’s show ‘Jugones’ on Friday.
Messi’s long-time team-mate Gerard Pique also stated he was optimistic about Barcelona’s chances of keeping their star player, but admitted they will support him whatever he ultimately decides.
‘I couldn’t tell you what’s going to happen with him,’ Pique said. ‘I think in recent months he looks happier. That’s important.
‘He impacts the team because he is the captain and influences the whole team. The club is doing very well and much of it is because of him.
‘Messi has been with us in the team for several years. We know him well, and we will support his decision. We should be grateful for what he has done.’
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