Presidential candidate Joan Laporta has claimed that Lionel Messi will remain at Barcelona beyond the summer, as long as the club can make an offer that ‘suits him’.
Messi’s future has been the hot topic at Barcelona for more than half a year now after the player attempted to force a transfer last summer, amid Barça’s on-field disappointments and off-field scandal.
Eventually he relented in his desire to move, but his contract will expire this summer regardless. As of 1 January, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been free to negotiate a pre-contract arrangement with a foreign club.
Mounting debt and a bubbling financial crisis means keeping Messi could be a struggle for Barça. However, presidential candidate Laporta insists the desire is there from the player’s side.
“Messi is now totally focused on us catching Atlético in the League and in the PSG tie in the Champions League,” he said via SPORT.
“I know he wants to stay and I know that he will do everything in his power to stay as long as the club can make him an offer that suits him.”
Laporta, who is the favourite to be voted in as Barcelona’s next club president, will have to wait a little longer for the elections which have been delayed until 7 March due to the pandemic.
As a result of the delay, he confirmed that the interim board at Barça will not be able to make any first-team signings (including Eric Garcia from Manchester City) this transfer window.
He continued: “Eric Garcia will not come to winter. We cannot give a letter to the manager to carry out decisions like this.
“The options and figures have been explained to us and we have all concluded that if his contract ends, the new board will decides to sign. We have assessed the player’s salary, and it was an operation that had to be carried out by assessing the financial situation of the club.”
Learn more about the remaining Barcelona presidential candidates and their position on key issues here.