After a scintillating Copa America tourney, Lionel Messi and Barcelona have decided to reach a verbal agreement for a new five year deal to keep the Argentine forward at the Catalan club with a heavy 50 per cent pay-cut according to ESPN sources.
The 34-year-old Argentine has been receiving interest from Premier League giant and Champion – Manchester City and French League One power house, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after revealing his desire to leave the Catalonian club last summer.
La Liga Chief – Javier Tebas had earlier stated that, if there is no significant pay-cut in the wages of players at Barcelona to comply with the league’s financial fair play rule, they might be without their star player in the 2021/2022 season which is to start on August 13, 2021 and expected to end on May 22, 2022.
Barcelona’s debt had risen to over €1 billion with mismanagement from former Barcelona President, Josep Maria Bartomeu. The spending limit had to be reduced from over €600m to €347m since the coronavirus pandemic, with further reductions expected for the coming season. The possible solution to reduce this debt is transferring players out, reducing wage bills and making Messi accept a pay-cut with his previous contract worth over €500 million which ended on June 30th.
Barca are rumoured to make a swap deal with Saul Niguez at Atletico Madrid and Antoine Griezmann which would partly free up Griezmann’s high wages to then pay Messi. The deal will see a significant reduction of about €12 million.
The six times Ballon D’or winner who is currently holidaying with his family after a first International Trophy with Argentina will link up with Ronald Koeman’s squad later in the summer to kick start pre-season.
Messi is to join new recruits – Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, as well as recalled Emerson Royal to kick start their charge for a possible 28th league title after succumbing to Atletico Madrid in the last campaign.
Barca is expected to face Real Sociedad to kick-start their league campaign on August 15th at Camp Nou.