Lionel Messi future: Barcelona prioritising Erling Haaland transfer over contract talks

Barcelona are reportedly going to prioritise the signing of Erling Haaland over Lionel Messi's future this summer.

With Messi's current deal with Barcelona set to expire on June 30 this year, just over six weeks away, speculation over his next move in the game has been rife in recent months. 

Despite the ongoing uncertainty, the Argentina international has been in stunning form this season and racked up 37 goals and 14 assists in 46 games across all competitions. 

His unrelenting form has quelled suggestions that his peak years are long behind him and proven that he's still arguably the world's best footballer at 33 years of age. 

However, it seems that the Catalan giants are prepared to sacrifice the six-time Ballon d'Or winner in order to facilitate a deal for Haaland

The passing of the proverbial baton from one generation to the next could be in the offing at Barca. 

According to a report from The Sun, Joan Laporta is eager to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation and build the club's future around him. 

The report claims that Barca deem the signing of Haaland as more important than securing a fresh agreement with Messi.

Given the economic implications of the global pandemic and Dortmund's £150m valuation, the rest of Europe's behemoths may be reluctant to shell out for a player who will be available for €75m in the summer of 2022 when his release clause becomes active. 

And Laporta knows that Barca are unlikely to have a better opportunity to sign the Norway international. 

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“Haaland is the future, Messi is almost the past," said a source close to The Sun. 

Given Barca's desire to land Haaland this summer, Messi could be forced to slash his current pay package in half if he wants to stay.

It's difficult to envisage a scenario in which any club would be willing to let Messi go to make room for another superstar, but that is a testament to just how incredible Haaland has been since bursting onto the scene with Red Bull Salzburg. 

The 20-year-old colossus scored a brace in Dortmund's 4-1 DFB Pokal final win over RB Leipzig earlier this week to take his tally to 39 for the season.

With a return of 11 assists to add to his rampant goal scoring exploits, Haaland has amassed half a century of goal contributions and toppled records in the Champions League.

And Haaland's form has already drawn public praise from Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who did suggest that the prodigious talent has no major reason to leave Dortmund at this stage, per Sport1 (via Goal). 

"His style of play and goal scoring is impressive.

"When you see videos in which he runs from the very back to the front in full sprint and hits the ball with all his might, that's amazing. It's pure will, you can't train that. Either you have this will or you don't.

"Haaland would make any team in the world better. But that doesn't mean that he won't stay in Dortmund.

"BVB is a very well run club at which an excellent job has been done in recent years. Why shouldn't he stay there for another year? That would be by no means a step backwards.

"If he leaves, his new team would have an amazing striker for the next 10 years."

Read More - Summer transfer window: When does it open and who will move this summer?

Jack Saville

Interested in: Football, Cricket, Tennis, Manchester City

Manchester City fan masquerading as a plastic seat since 1994. I've served food to Novak Djokovic and set foot in Cristiano Ronaldo's old house, but Nigel de Jong is my one true love.