Messi's new Barcelona contract has been delayed until club sell players

Messi's new Barcelona contract has been delayed until club sell players

Lionel Messi's new Barcelona contract is being delayed due to the club's financial situation and the Catalans need to sell players before securing their captain's future, says Joan Laporta.

The Barcelona talisman is widely expected to stay at the Camp Nou just 12 months after the Argentine handed in a transfer request at the club, with Messi understood to be signing a new two-year contract with the Catalans.

But Barcelona president Laporta insists the club must respect UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules so cannot tie Messi down to a new deal yet, with the Catalans chief confirming that the 33-year-old is helping the club out with a pay cut.

Laporta told the club's official website: 'In economic terms, he has made it very easy, but financial fair play is another battleground. We have to follow the rules, we will follow them.

'There will be more sales and loans. Without paying a transfer fee. We will do a lot of loans, because we have a very high sports payroll compared to other clubs.'

At the start of February, Barcelona's debt was considered to be at around £1billion - meaning major transfer targets are unlikely to take place this summer.

Furthermore, four audits are currently circling round the club to determine the extent of Barcelona's financial woes, which could have a major impact on their player recruitment plans for the coming year.

The club have already signed Manchester City duo Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero on free transfers and while they missed out on former Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum to PSG, Barcelona could snap up Lyon captain Memphis Depay on a free transfer.

Meanwhile, the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and defender Junior Firpo have been linked with exits from the Camp Nou this summer.

The priority for Barcelona, however, is to keep Messi at the club - who could reach 700 goals for the LaLiga giants this season, including 38 in all competitions last term.

Laporta maintains that Messi will remain at Barcelona no matter what other transfer activity they do and that new signing Aguero is playing his role in the Argentina remaining at the club.

The Barcelona president added: 'Leo Messi's boots will continue on the Camp Nou pitch. He wants to stay. I do not contemplate a no.

'It isn't easy. We'll do what we can. There is no need to seduce him, he is determined if there are a series of circumstances to stay.

'He is OK but he hasn't signed yet. Kun Aguero tells him every day: 'Sign that, we will play together.'

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