With Lionel Messi already having one foot out of Barcelona, the club needs to begin thinking about how they will shape up without him.
Barcelona are due to have their presidential elections on January 24 and both frontrunning candidates, Joan Laporta and Victor Font, have a mutual agenda of keeping Lionel Messi at the club beyond his current deal. The 33-year-old is in the final year of his contract and after nearly departing the club in the recent transfer window, all things point towards an exit in 2021.
Messi is wanted by Manchester City, who are thought to be readying a pre-contract agreement for the player. Unfortunately for Barcelona, the demands made by Messi are too lofty to be satisfied. The Argentinian ace wants to see a major change in the current squad if he is to stay and that looks very unlikely if one sees the club’s financial situation.
As such, even Joan Laporta, who oversaw the club’s most successful era some years ago, may not be able to convince Messi to stay. According to reports in Spain, the Catalans’ presidential candidate has already shortlisted a potential replacement for the club’s greatest player- Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland.
Erling Haaland has taken the world by a storm with his exploits in the last year or so. The Norway international is the epitome of a lethal marksman and he has proven himself even on the biggest stage- the UEFA Champions League. The 20-year-old’s exploits in front of goal in the European Cup have already seen him topple numerous records.
Dortmund are likely to demand in the range of 80 million euros for their star man and in all likelihood, it may be a sum that Barcelona will get ready to dish out. Haaland’s arrival at the Camp Nou would be a welcome addition as he would surely contribute on the same wavelength as Messi, at least statistically speaking.
While Barca have expressed interest in the player, it must be kept in mind that the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid have also been monitoring the former Salzburg striker. Currently, the 5-time European champions don’t have as good a financial leverage as their competitors and thus, keeping a few back-ups would be a prudent option.
Who do you think will be the perfect replacement for Lionel Messi at Barcelona?