Barcelona have tied down Neymar and Luis Suarez to new improved contracts and will now shift focus to securing Lionel Messi. Funds may come up short prompting the club to reduce payroll by shipping out some of their players.
Midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Arda Turan are the more prominent first-team players who could switch teams soon. Rakitic is something of interest to Manchester City and Atletico Madrid while Turan could be heading to the high-paying Chinese Super League.
The defending La Liga Champions are locked in a three-team race for the domestic title with Real Madrid and Sevilla with Atletico Madrid lurking close by so it’s unlikely Barça will be a seller during this transfer market. However if their asking prices are met they could sanction a move as per a report from El Confidencial via Bleacher Report.
“An operation has taken shape in recent moments to cut millions of euros [from Barça’s budget] and allow the club to fund the new deal which they will present to their star [Messi].”
After all, they have plenty of depth in the midfield to let go of Rakitic and Turan.
Summer signings Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez are still there with Iniesta and Sergio Busquets not going anywhere. Rafinha and Sergi Samper (on loan) could be another homegrown option while converted right-back Sergi Roberto can also shift to the half-back spot paving the way for Aleix Vidal to play his natural spot.
Alternatively Barcelona can utilize their buy-back options on some of their past transfers. Similar to how Suarez found his way back to the Catalan club, they could implement that same tactic to reinforce their depth. Players like Gerard Deulofeu, Adama Traore and Alen Halilovic could be bought back for a low price.
It’s imperative Barcelona keep MSN intact because lets be honest, retaining Messi is more valuable than the duo of Turan and Rakitic. Subtracting their salary to accommodate the five-time Balon D’Or winner is a no-brainer especially after all the goals they’ve scored together.
The ‘MSN’ have scored 300 goals with @FCBarcelona! 💯💯💯
⚽️ Messi 1️⃣2️⃣4️⃣ ⚽️
⚽️ Suarez 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ ⚽️
⚽️ Neymar 7️⃣6️⃣ ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/fI3389WDge
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) January 11, 2017
Messi will not come cheap and with Manchester City reportedly willing to break the bank for the Argentine, Barcelona need to secure his signature before his contract runs out in 2018 and becomes an even bigger distraction. The good news for Barça fans is that the club is taking the necessary steps to make sure Messi is not tempted to leave the La Liga champions.
With Barcelona still competing in the Copa del Rey and Champions League, it’s highly doubtful the club lets go of both players during this transfer window unless they are wowed by an offer.