Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said the club will present its contract offer to Lionel Messi 'soon'. It follows an alleged meeting between the pair last week, with Laporta adding that he is 'moderately optimistic' a deal will be agreed.
As things stand, Messi is on course to be out of contract at the end of next month, having run down his current deal after initially requesting to leave Camp Nou last summer. He has always maintained he would decide his future at the end of the campaign.
Local broadcaster TV3 had already reported that an agreement is ‘close’, with Messi having met with Laporta in the final week of the season before departing for international duty with Argentina. Others talks have also taken place between vice-president Rafa Yuste and Messi’s father and agent, Jorge.
Laporta has since denied an offer has already made, commenting, "Leo Messi loves the club and he’s excited by the project, we’ll make our bid soon within our possibilities. I’m moderately optimistic."
However, it is thought that when the offer is formally made it will be on the same terms previously discussed at earlier meetings in April.
That would also appear to map out the rest of Messi’s career. It is believed to include a two-year deal to continue as a Barcelona player, taking him to the end of the 2022/23 season, by which time he will be closing in on his 36th birthday. Then he will serve as a club ambassador in the United States while also playing for a team in MLS, which he has previously said is his ambition.
The final part of the proposed deal would be an initial five-year term in some kind of sporting or technical position back at Camp Nou.
Finances have been a big problem for Barcelona and it is said the club is optimistic about the deal because Messi is understanding of the situation, which is also why he is not unduly upset that the club will not be able to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.
The bulk of Barcelona’s signings this summer are likely to be free transfers, with Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia all expected to arrive running down their contracts at Lyon, Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.