- Lionel Messi has yet to put pen to paper on a new Barcelona contract
- Valverde eyes January marquee signing to help convince him
- Coutinho, Ozil, Fekir and Lemar all mentioned in the report
- READ MORE: Lionel Messi urges Barcelona to axe bit-part player, January exit touted
Lionel Messi will see his current Barcelona contract expire at the end of the season, and the Catalan giants will reportedly do what they can to convince him to sign a new deal.
The 30-year-old has been with Barca since 2001 when he initially joined their youth academy, while he’s gone on to score a staggering 523 goals in 601 appearances in all competitions.
With that has come eight La Liga titles, four Champions League trophies and many other titles as well as individuals accolades, and so he has certainly cemented his place in the history books at the Nou Camp.
However, whether or not he will continue to write history with the Blaugrana is still unknown, as there has been no public suggestion that he will officially sign his new contract in the imminent future.
That in turn has led to speculation over what it might take for him to sign, with Diario Gol reporting that Ernesto Valverde has requested four names to be considered, with at least one to arrive in January, with Messi unimpressed with those who have arrived in recent times.
Those names are Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who remains the priority, with three alternatives in Thomas Lemar, Arsenal ace Mesut Ozil and Nabil Fekir.
The report goes on to name several other options including Leon Goretzka and Dele Alli, but the quartet mentioned above are said to lead the way in the club’s considerations.
One concern that Valverde should be wary of though is whether or not such a signing in January will disrupt the balance that he has created in this current side.
Barcelona sit top of the La Liga table with a four-point cushion over their nearest rivals, while they’re top of their Champions League group as Valverde has done a stellar job since being appointed this past summer.
In turn, whether it’s Coutinho, who Barca made a €130m bid for this summer, as per The Guardian, or Ozil, who Sport suggest is a €20m target in January, he’ll need to be certain that they can successfully settle in and be an important part of his plans.
It seems though that the end game is to get Messi to agree to a new deal, and with the way in which they’ve started the Valverde era coupled with the potential to keep signing young players with whom they can build for the future, there seems to be a number of reasons as to why the Argentine icon will stay.