Barcelona have been described as ‘optimistic’ of agreeing a new contract with star goalkeeper Marc-André Ter Stegen, whose current deal is due to expire in the summer of 2022.
Since taking over as full-time number one from Claudio Bravo in 2016, Ter Stegen has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world and is now a crucial senior figure in a Barça squad that is attempting to navigate a tricky period of transition.
Local publication SPORT writes that talks over a new contract initially began in December, although the club and player are said to have been ‘some way’ from an agreement. Talks then stopped altogether as the coronavirus crisis began to grip Spain.
SPORT explains that while Barça want to hand Ter Stegen a new deal that runs until 2025, by which time he will be 33 and have spent more than a decade at Camp Nou, concerns have risen over the exact terms of what a new deal will look like amid the financial impact of the pandemic.
It is suggested that fresh terms could still make the Germany international one of the highest paid players in the squad, but he will have to settle for less than he initially hoped for.
Despite the delay to begin with and the reality that no new contract can be as lucrative as it might have been even just a few months ago, SPORT makes it clear that it has never been Ter Stegen’s intention to leave and explains that he remains happy at the club and in the city.
The only danger for Barça remains if no contract is agreed soon and Ter Stegen enters the final year of his contract as of this summer, which may prompt interest from other clubs - Chelsea and Bayern Munich have both been linked with the 28-year-old in recent months.
But SPORT claims that resumed talks have been positive. And with more planned for next week, it is said that Barcelona are now hopeful of agreeing a new deal sooner rather than later, before the restart of the 2019/20 La Liga season, which is expected by 19 June.