Reports emerged this morning claiming Lionel Messi may have to wait until January to be registered by Barcelona.
Barcelona fans need no reminding of the situation that means Messi’s new contract cannot be registered until the club come below their La Liga salary cap.
The Blaugrana club are working away behind the scenes to reduce bills, entering talks with high earners over salary reductions while looking to sell the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho, Neto, Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti.
But progress is slow and the season is just three weeks away, Barcelona fans can be forgiven for getting more nervy with each passing day.
Amid the slow progress, the question was posed by ESPN whether there may be a situation where Messi may have to wait until January for his contract to be registered.
The La Liga deadline is not until the end of August, just over two weeks after the start of the season on the second weekend of the month, but it’s reported Barca would like to get Messi and their new players registered by the start of the snew campaign.
Nevertheless, should Barca fail to register Messi August 31, there is next to no chance the Argentine superstar will wait around until January.
It’s clear that his preference is to stay at Barcelona this summer, and he is willing to be patient while also taking a pay cut to get it done, but the best player in world football is not about to take five months off football because the club he loves can’t get its house in order.
At that point, Messi would have two obvious options. He either goes elsewhere before the end of August, to make sure he has time to register for a new club before that team’s respective league deadline.
Or alternatively, he agrees a contract with a severely reduced wage at Barcelona, one that the club can afford to pay under their restrictions, with the agreement that the money is made up with a new and improved contract later on when the required departures are managed.
Of course, neither of those options are preferred at this point, and Barca chief Joan Laporta did say yesterday that he was ‘confident’ in the club’s ability to get where they need to be and on time, but both options are far more realistic than Messi accepting being out of football for five months.