Lionel Messi is often paired with being an important voice in Barcelona’s decision-making as per reports in Spain, and it’s claimed his influence is in full swing again.
It’s debatable as to whether he really does carry that much weight, but ultimately being their most important player and with a likely interest from him in ensuring that they remain competitive in the latter stages of his career, it would make sense for the two parties to at least be in discussion.
According to Diario Gol, as re-reported by The Express, that’s exactly the case when it comes to Thomas Vermaelen’s future at the Nou Camp, as it’s claimed that Messi wants to see the stalwart stay at Barcelona beyond his current contract which ends in 2019.
There are arguments for and against Barcelona keeping faith in Vermaelen as a back-up option, as ultimately that’s all they need given how effective Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique have been this season.
The Catalan giants have conceded just 13 goals in 29 La Liga games, giving them the best defensive record in the league which has played a massive part in why they’re still unbeaten.
Vermaelen has made 16 appearances so far this season, stepping in when Umtiti was injured earlier in the campaign and doing a solid job for Ernesto Valverde. In turn, he may well have proven that he can still be a reliable figure when required.
Nevertheless, his injury history does go against him as he has struggled with issues throughout his career, and at the age of 32, it’s unlikely that the situation is going to improve.
In turn, that raises the question mark as to how reliable he will be if needed. From a financial perspective, he would arguably be a dream as he won’t demand too much money at this stage of his career and it saves Barcelona from splashing out on a new signing if they keep him.
Messi reportedly wants him to stay, now it will up to Barcelona to decide his future.