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The Argentine is in the last six months of his contract, but one of the men in line to take over in the Camp Nou boardroom expects him to stay put.
Lionel Messi’s salaries are not sustainable, but the superstar forward can be persuaded to stay in Barcelona with a sports project that appeals to him, according to presidential candidate Emili Rousaud.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was unsuccessful in his attempt to leave the Camp Nou before the 2020-21 campaign, but is now free to discuss an end-of-season transfer with the clubs after entering the last six months. of his career. contract.
He was strongly inclined to meet former boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, while Inter and Paris Saint-Germain, now coached by compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, have also been linked.
But while reiterating that Messi will have to accept a pay cut if he wants to stay at Barça beyond this season, Rousaud has outlined his plan to tempt the single-club player to put pen to paper in new terms.
“He did not want to leave the club for financial reasons. It was due to the lack of a sports project,” said Rousaud. Sport.
“I will look him in the eye and say: ‘Your salary is unsustainable, the club cannot pay you. But we are going to start a project to surround you with young talent.’
Despite Barça’s financial concerns in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Rousaud has previously outlined his intention to bring in prolific forward Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund if he succeeds Josep Maria Bartomeu in this month’s election.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé is another possible target and Rousaud believes that the prestige of playing for Barcelona could give the La Liga giants an advantage in the transfer market.
“The market prices in which the players move now are not those of two years ago,” he said. In addition, Barça has something very important: a shirt that has a lot of weight in the world. But of course, we will not stretch the arm more than the sleeve.
“My advisor Josep Maria Minguella has spoken with [Haaland’s agent] Mino Raiola to find out the conditions in which he would come and we have started talking.
“For a player like him, being in a club like ours would give him a great showcase at the world level.”
Rousaud has also promised to try to bring Neymar back to Catalonia should he be elected, despite the Brazilian forward leaving Barça for PSG under a cloud that has since seen him embroiled in a legal battle over an alleged breach. contract.
However, instead of condemning Neymar for leaving the club for a record fee of 222 million euros (197 million pounds / 270 million dollars) in 2017, Rousaud feels that Barça is only to blame for wasting money on two players who have suffered injury problems.
“The money that Neymar left was invested in two players: [Philippe] Coutinho and [Ousmane] Dembélé, which has not given the expected sporting result ”, he said.
“And since they didn’t work, we signed others. And since we no longer have cash, we start to get into debt.
“They say that Neymar humiliated us. I respect that opinion, but he left us 222 million euros. If with that money we had signed Mbappé, perhaps we would not talk more about Neymar.”