Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has admitted to being concerned about the future of Lionel Messi, who is no longer under contract with the club after the expiration of his contract.
Messi, who became a free agent on July 1, has agreed to the majority of the conditions of a new deal but has been forced to wait by Barcelona, who must cut their pay budget by an astonishing £170 million to return to the salary limit before signing Messi.
Due to the magnitude of the job at hand, there is a distinct chance that Barcelona may be unable to re-sign Messi, and Koeman confessed he is not sleeping well as a result of the situation.
“Whenever an issue is not solved, you have to be worried,” Koeman said (via Marca). “However, I have full faith in our president to resolve this problem, and I hope he does, because it is critical for the club, but also for La Liga, that the best player in the world remains, and we must all work together to ensure that he does.
“Joan Laporta advised me yesterday to maintain my composure, that we are working on this problem, and that we are confident in our ability to strike an arrangement with Leo [to allow him to stay for a few more years].
“He has always shown a desire to remain in Barcelona, and they are trying to achieve a deal.
“Leo is competing in the Copa America; he is focused on other things and hopes to win the final against Brazil. He has always given his all to our club, and we hope he will continue to do so. To my mind, he should remain since ending up wearing another outfit is not acceptable.”
Barcelona’s goal of staying under the wage limit will not be simple. Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti are likely to go on loan, and there have even been speculations that Antoine Griezmann may be sold due to his position as the club’s top earner now that Messi has left.
“I’m going to count on all the players we have and, if there is a change, we have to accept it, but that’s a thing for the club,” Koeman said. “We’re attempting to strengthen the squad, and we’ll see who remains and who leaves. There are many choices that we are unable to make now.
“Griezmann? He is important because he has shown his ability; he was an excellent acquisition for Barcelona, and I am relying on all of my players at the moment.
“Above all, the most important thing is to do all necessary to retain Leo. That is critical, since he is the club’s future. Each year, he performs well, and we must do everything possible to keep him.”