Barcelona expect to tie down Lionel Messi to a new contract but have reportedly hit several stumbling blocks over the last fortnight. The legendary forward has spent his entire career with the Spanish giants but he will officially become a free agent tomorrow (Thursday) if he does not sign fresh terms beforehand.
Messi reportedly wanted to leave last summer due to his belief that a clause in his contract allowed him to depart.
The 34-year-old was linked with a reunion with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
However, La Liga ruled that the clause was invalid due to the 2020 summer transfer window being moved due to the pandemic.
Messi is believed to have since rowed back on his desire to depart and is willing to extend his Barca career.
The Argentina captain made his Barca debut aged 17 in 2004 and 778 matches for the La Liga side.
He has scored a staggering 672 goals and has won 10 league titles and four Champions Leagues among several other club honours.
Ronald Koeman’s side finished third in La Liga and were beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16 of the Champions League.
It was the Catalan club’s lowest league finish in 13 years. Koeman has been trusted to lead their transfer window plans.
They have already signed Messi’s Argentina team-mate Sergio Aguero and the striker will join on Thursday once his Manchester City contract expires.
The 20-year-old defender Eric Garcia will also sign on a free contract from the Premier League champions.
Aguero has said that City boss Pep Guardiola, a former Barcelona manager, has told him that he is joining the most esteemed club in world football.
“The only thing that I remember is that, when we won the Premier League, we had lunch,” Aguero said of his last conversation with Guardiola.
“He said to me: ‘You’re going to the best club in the world.’ Those were the last words [that he said to me].
I said before to president Laporta that, when I was a kid, I said that one day [Barcelona] would want me, one day they’d look at me.”