Lionel Messi will become a free agent on Thursday, but Barcelona are confident he will sign a new deal.
The Argentina international is currently on international duty at the Copa America and has spent the last year mulling over whether to pen a new contract.
Messi’s deal expires on Wednesday, although ESPN claim Barcelona are relaxed about their star man becoming a free agent.
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There is a ‘loose agreement’ in place for Messi to commit his future to Barcelona and extend his 20-year stay at the club.
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Barcelona has suffered terrible financial issues in recent years and there were fears the club simply could not afford to keep Messi on the books.
Messi is one of the best paid players in the world, but Barcelona have always been confident the 34-year-old’s preference is to stay.
Barcelona are in the process of putting together a deal that will satisfy Messi, as well as La Liga and the tax office.
The Catalan giants have cut their wage bill almost in half in the last year, around £260 million, with Messi’s new deal expected to make up much of Barcelona’s salary budget.
Messi’s last deal was worth a reported £429 million over four years, but Barcelona’s gross debt has rocketed to €1 billion in recent years.
Barcelona’s contract offer is on reduced terms, although that is not expected to be an issue.
The club has undergone huge changes recently with the exit of Josep Maria Bartomeu as president and the return of Joan Laporta.
There were reports of intense tension behind the scenes between Messi and the club hierarchy before the reshuffle.
For now, however, Messi’s focus is on the Copa America. Argentina play Ecuador in the quarter-finals on Saturday with Messi desperate to win his first major trophy with his international side.
Messi became Argentina’s most capped player of all time last Monday and has already lost three Copa America finals.
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