Messi’s new contract and expected Barcelona lineup after a busy transfer window – originally posted on Sportslens.com
Lionel Messi has reached a verbal agreement to sign a five-year contract extension at Barcelona.
According to Sky Sports, his salary is reduced by 50 per cent under the terms of the new deal.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was officially a free agent as of July 1. He failed to agree on terms over a renewal before his previous Barcelona contract expired on June 30.
One of the more interesting aspects of the deal is that the Spanish side intends to keep Messi for two years only.
The five-year contract is so that he could remain an ambassador of the club even after leaving, as reported by Spanish football expert Euan McTear (via Sky Sports).
He might well leave to join an MLS club (Inter Miami have been linked previously) while still being paid by Barcelona.
It is also possible that Messi, who apparently took a pay cut for this contract, has simply spread out his two years’ wages over a five-year contract to help Barcelona balance their books and reduce the annual wages, thus enabling the club to register their other summer signings.
Griezmann swap deal
According to McTear, Barcelona are looking for a swap deal for Saul Niguez at Athletico Madrid with Antoine Griezmann going the other way. This would be mainly to balance out the books by clearing the Frenchman’s enormous salary demands.
The possibility of keeping Messi and Griezmann at the club with such massive wage demands would be impossible financially for the Catalonian side.
Moreover, they have not yet registered Messi for La Liga due to the strict financial regulations imposed.
Therefore, to register Messi’s new deal, in addition to new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, Barcelona need to continue reducing the wage bill and moving players on.
The swap deal will save Barcelona up to ¢12 million in wages, as reported by McTear.
Possible lineup next season
With manager Ronald Koeman likely to stay at the helm, the Spanish giants will be looking to bounce back after a somewhat disappointing season on the European front.
After a busy summer, we take a look at their possible lineup next season.