Saturday was not a good day for Barcelona or Joan Laporta. On the pitch, the Catalans were held to a draw by fellow title challengers Atletico Madrid.
Off the pitch, and in Paris, Neymar signed a new contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain, keeping him at the Parc des Princes until 2025.
Both of these events are bad news for Barcelona‘s hopes of keeping Lionel Messi, as it damages the strength of Laporta‘s argument for him to stay.
The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has still not been made an offer to extend it by the club.
Laporta had seen signing Neymar as one of the major gateways to Messi‘s heart and had held talks with the Brazilian about a return move.
However, Neymar‘s new deal not only pledges his long-term future to PSG, but it closes the door on a return to the Camp Nou anytime soon.
Laporta still has other options on the table if he wants to impress Messi in the transfer market. Erling Haaland is his top target, though Borussia Dortmund would want around 200 million euros for him this summer.
This kind of money is way out of Barcelona‘s reach because of their financial hardship. The same goes for Real Madrid.
That leaves Sergio Aguero, whose exit from Manchester City this summer has been confirmed. He will be a free agent from June 30 and Laporta knows what a ploy the Argentine’s arrival would be for Messi, his compatriot and good friend.