Joan Laporta has kickstarted his efforts to convince Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona by opening contract talks with Sergio Aguero, who will be a free agent this summer if he does not agree a new deal with Manchester City.
Laporta was re-elected as club president on Sunday and will be hoping to usher in a new period of success with the Catalan club after his hugely successful first spell between 2003 and 2010.
Among his key campaign pledges was to keep Messi at Camp Nou beyond the end of the season following the Argentine's sensational but failed attempts to engineer a move last summer.
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Aguero has fallen down the pecking order at City and looks likely to call time on his 10-year stay in Manchester this summer, having written his name into club folklore with his performances in four title-winning sides, which will likely become five this season.
With his contract expiring at the end of the campaign, he is free to open talks with foreign clubs and Laporta was in contact with the 32-year-old during the course of the campaign and was encouraged by the responses.
Aguero is open to leaving Man City and is happy to take a cut from his €15 million annual salary. Barca can offer in the region of €10m per year, but would have to accompany the wages with a substantial signing-on fee.
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Aguero and Messi are close friends, having both represented Argentina alongside one another since 2006, winning just shy of 250 caps between them.
Messi thoroughly enjoyed playing alongside Luis Suarez, who left Camp Nou for Atletico Madrid in the summer. It is thought that Aguero would play the role of Messi's foil on and off the pitch with distinction.
Ironically, should Barca sign Aguero, Messi could head in the other direction, with City linked consistently with his signature in the last year. City executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain both held leading roles under Laporta during his first spell in charge in Catalonia, while Pep Guardiola was, of course, the coach when Messi emphasised his status as one of the best players of all time.
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