Joan Laporta’s great goal since becoming Barcelona president for the second time has been to renew Lionel Messi’s contract with the club. He’s doing all he can to achieve it according to Marca; he and sporting director Mateu Alemany are getting rid of as much deadwood as possible to bring down the wage bill, as well as brokering an attractive deal with the Argentine and fashioning a sporting project he can get behind.
Francisco Trincao joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday on loan with an option to buy, getting his wage off the books. Junior Firpo is close to joining Premier League side Leeds United for a fee in the region of €15m. There still is considerable work to do, however; Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti are both big earners who’ve rejected an offer from Barcelona to reduce their salaries, believed to be €35m per year altogether. The club are trying to move on both players.
Philippe Coutinho will likely be another casualty in the quest to retain Messi. Given the Brazilian is coming off an injury-hit campaign, however, a loan looks more likely than a transfer. Other players who have been made available are Martin Braithwaite, Carles Alena and Clement Lenglet, with the club even considering cashing in on Antoine Griezmann; the Frenchman’s annual salary is in the region of €40m gross.