Barca president Joan Laporta has disclosed that Lionel Messi’s signing of a new deal with the club is being held up by La Liga’s financial fair play rules. Meanwhile, the Argentine became a free agent for the first time in his professional playing career after his contract with the club expired on Thursday.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has also warned the club that they must make cutbacks if they want to be able to register any new Messi deal ahead of the 2021/22 season.
“We want him to stay and Leo wants to stay, everything is on track,” Laporta told Onda Cero on Thursday.
“We still have the financial fair play [issue] to sort out… we’re in the process of finding the best solution for all parties.”
It can be recalled that Barcelona had the biggest salary cap in Spain before the pandemic at €671 million per year, but as of March, it has been cut down to €347m.
The clearout started last summer with the departures of Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, and Luis Suarez but they need to further reduce their wage bill before they can register Messi’s new deal and their four summer signings thus far namely; Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, and Emerson Royal.
They’ve been able to relieve themselves of some fringe players during the transfer window such as Jean-Clair Todibo, Juan Miranda, Matheus Fernandes, and Konrad de la Fuente who have all left the club. Junior Firpo is also set to leave for Leeds United too.
The challenge they’re stuck with presently is with the departures of some big earners as there has not been any movement on the likes of Miralem Pjanic, Samuel Umtiti, Philippe Coutinho, and Neto.
Regardless, it is believed that transfer dealings will speed up after the end of Euro 2020 and Copa America as the club try to work out other ways to reduce their huge wage bill.
The monies that will be accrued from these potential departures could help in increasing their salary cap ahead for next season.
It can be recalled that Messi’s last four-year contract was worth €500m before its expiration on June 30, 2021, comprising his sign-on fees, bonuses, image rights, and salaries.
However, the club will not be able to pay him at the same rate and are working out other ways to compensate him over a long period to ensure that the pay cut he takes won’t be significant.