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Barcelona preparing to offer three-year contract to Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi during the El Clasico earlier this month / GETTY IMAGES

Joan Laporta is reportedly working on offering a 3-year contract to Lionel Messi, in an attempt to persuade him to stay at the club.

According to ESPN, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has set his eyes on offering a new three-year contract to club captain Lionel Messi, whose contract expires this summer.

The Barça president is aware that the club can no longer afford to pay Messi what he is earning at the moment — around €75 million net annually — and hence they are exploring different formulas to keep him at the club.

According to sources from ESPN, the idea is to offer a longer deal, so that Messi is compensated over several years to make up for the immediate reduction to his salary. Messi, whose contract expires at the end of June, has previously preferred renewing on an year-to-year basis, based on his personal feelings and the sporting project in place at the club.

Given the economic condition of the club, Laporta cannot respect the terms of his deal moving forward. So, he hopes to convince Messi with a two-year deal which includes the option for an additional year.

The Argentine international will turn 34 in June and in an interview to La Sexta in December, he admitted that he would like to play in Major League Soccer before ending his career.

“I always had the dream of being able to enjoy and have the experience of living in the United States and experience what the league there is like,” he told La Sexta.

Messi also said that, whatever he does in the future, he would like to return to Barcelona after retiring and he hasn’t changed his mind in terms of his long-term plans since that interview. However, in the short-term, Laporta knows Messi’s priority is to remain at the top of the game.

Therefore, according to sources from ESPN, Laporta continues to seek ways to finance a star signing like Erling Haaland or Neymar to convince Messi that Barca will be capable of competing at the top-level next season.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City continue to monitor the situation, but according to a source from ESPN, Laporta is increasingly optimistic — in public and in private — that Messi will stay at Barca.

Laporta even said he was “convinced” Messi would not leave this summer after last Saturday’s Copa del Rey final win. Messi, meanwhile, seems to be focused exclusively on events on the pitch as the race for the La Liga title heats up. If Barca win their final seven league games, they will win the La Liga title.

Jorge Messi, the player’s father and agent, arrived in Europe last weekend and will oversee renewal talks, but according to ESPN, no date has yet been set up for a potential meeting with Laporta to begin negotiations.

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