Barcelona are seeking to secure the long-term future of teenage starlet Ansu Fati and end the bizarre confusion over when his existing contract is due to expire.
Despite being ruled out until early March with a knee injury for which he underwent surgery, Fati has established himself as the future of the club. His flying start to the 2020/21 campaign had yielded nine goals and assists in 10 appearances prior to his injury and four caps for Spain.
The 18-year-old signed a new contract in July 2019, with his release clause automatically increased from €100m to €400m when he was made an official member of the first-team squad this season, as per an amendment that was agreed last December.
Mundo Deportivo (MD) writes that Barca are keen on negotiating fresh contract with Fati, which will become their main priority once the issue of Lionel Messi’s future is sorted.
Having tried and failed to leave Camp Nou over the summer by exercising a clause Barca officials insisted had expired, Messi is out of contract at the end of this season. He will even be able to start formally negotiating a pre-contract agreement with potential suitors as of 1 January.
But after Messi has been dealt with – it may be easier to convinced him to stay now that Josep Maria Bartomeu has resigned as president – Fati’s future is ‘immediately’ next on the club’s to-do list.
MD explains that part of the issue is that Fati’s camp, which includes his father, Bori, and agent Jorge Mendes, do not interpret his current contract in the same way as the club.
Barcelona think the deal initially runs until 2022, but includes an option of two further years that can be triggered to extend it until 2024. This is what they announced in both July and December 2019.
But the view of the player’s advisers is said to be that it ends in 2022 and that is it, with any extension to that in need of being reviewed and agreed.
It therefore falls to Barcelona to present a new long-term contract offer, potentially until 2026, to clear up the confusion that may come back to bite them further down the line if it persists.