Though they don’t expire until 2022, it has been reported that FC Barcelona are keen to renovate the contracts of goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and right-back Nelson Semedo.
While these developments seem curious considering that a string of other stars can walk for free earlier in 2021 if arrangements aren’t made beforehand, it is entirely understandable when considering who they are and which current set of circumstances they find themselves in at the Camp Nou.
The first pair are none other than Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal, who as I explained on Saturday are currently fancied by Antonio Conte at Inter Milan to bolster the Serie A title challengers’ midfield.
At the start of this week, it has since been claimed that Vidal is the main priority for the ex-Chelsea boss, yet it would make no sense to try and tie either up and prolong their futures in Catalonia when they could leave for the Italian fashion capital in January.
Luis Suarez also forms part of the quartet, but as previously analyzed, he intends to wait until expiry by which he would be 34 years old . Then, he can ride into the sunset – possibly to David Beckham’s Inter Miami – with FCB having already procured his successor as early as the start of the next season.
Last, but certainly not least, is the club’s most prized asset in Lionel Messi. Revealing this in interviews as recent as that with TyC in his native Argentina at the weekend, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has stated an intention to remain in the Catalan capital where his sons are settled and a bright future can be offered to them.
Alarmingly, it appears that not even a stint at Newell’s Old Boys, where it all began for him in his home city of Rosario, can interest his family meaning that LM10 looks certain to end his playing days at the club that changed his life.
Still, that doesn’t mean that agreeing eye-watering terms for the agreement will be straightfoward and Barça top brass wish to tie up 2022’s expirees so that all their energies can be focused on their captain.
After Messi, Ter Stegen is arguably Ernesto Valverde’s most important star and together the pair have saved the Champions League and Liga leader’s blushes on numerous ocassions in 2019/2020 as no better witnessed in the tense victory at Slavia Prague last Wednesday.
Regarded as the best piece of business done under fired former director of football Andoni Zubizaretta – a legend in the position himself for Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and Spain – Ter Stegen was picked up from Borussia Monchengladbach for a paltry $13.2mn dollars in 2014.
Going on to become one of the world’s best ‘keepers and renewing in May 2017, his $200mn release clause would double the world record fee paid for Chelsea’s Kepa but is not entirely out of reach to many superclubs. If met, Barcelona would be left with an almost insurmountable task of finding a like-for-like replacement.
As for Semedo, Mundo Deportivo sources confirm that the club is ‘very happy’ with a defender that has shown off his versatility on both flanks of the back line when filling in for Jordi Alba on the left.
Joining two years ago from Benfica, new terms agreed in Spain over the upcoming months are set to see him awarded a considerable pay bump.