Barcelona are desperate to keep hold of their new No 10 Ansu Fati and have tabled a new contract extension.
Fati, who is currently under contract at the Nou Camp until 2022, has told his agent Jorge Mendes and the club that he wants to stay at Barcelona.
Mendes received an extension offer from Barcelona three weeks ago after the club’s football director Mateu Alemany had been working on a proposal for a month and a half, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Barcelona are desperate to keep 18-year-old forward Ansu Fati and have tabled a new contract
Alemany and Mendes are set to sit down once the agent returns from a family holiday to Qatar to see the new contract over the line.
On September 15, a dinner took place between the Fati family and Mendes, who were joined by Alemany.
The agent and director stayed behind after Fati, his father and brother left, to discuss the contract with the confidence that the forward’s priority was to remain at the club.
The forward has informed his agent and the club that his priority is to stay at the Nou Camp
Mendes and the club have been in constant communication and have discussed that the contract will not be long-term on the basis that it will be reviewed later once Barcelona’s economic situation has improved.
Barcelona’s disastrous finances were laid bare after they were given just a €98million (£85m) salary cap by LaLiga for the 2021-22 season – a seventh of Real Madrid’s €739m (£638m) allocation.
The Catalans’ financial Armageddon has been well documented and LaLiga have long held firm on their stance that they would not make special dispensation for the club.
In the 2018-19 season the Catalan side had a salary cap of €671m (£580m), which was slashed to €382.7m (£331m), a fall of €288.3m (£249m).
SALARY CAPS FOR LALIGA CLUBS
REAL MADRID – £638m
SEVILLA – £173m
ATLETICO MADRID – £148m
VILLARREAL – £138m
REAL SOCIEDAD – £110m
ATHLETIC BILBAO – £97m
BARCELONA – £85m
ESPANYOL – £67m
REAL BETIS – £61m
CELTA VIGO – £57m
GETAFE – £56m
OSASUNA – £49m
GRANADA – £46m
REAL MALLORCA – £40m
CADIZ – £39m
ALAVES – £37m
RAYO VALLECANO – £36m
ELCHE – £36m
LEVANTE – £28m
VALENCIA – £26m
But a further squeeze on Barcelona’s finances, exacerbated by the pandemic but due to unsustainable wage to turnover ratios, has seen that figure now fall to the £85m they have this season.
Debts are believed to have racked up to more than £1.1billion at the Nou Camp in recent seasons.
The Blaugrana’s staggering debt has already hindered their transfer plans over the summer seeing their talisman Lionel Messi depart the club to join PSG on a free after the Catalans could no longer afford to keep his salary on the wage books.
Barcelona also found themselves desperate to shift other high earners, including Antoine Griezmann and Miralem Pjanic.
Fati inherited Messi’s infamous No 10 following the Argentine’s departure and has swiftly replaced the Nou Camp veteran as Barcelona’s most prized asset.
Messi, Barcelona’s greatest ever player, wore No 10 for many years before leaving for PSG
The 18-year-old has proven he is worthy of the number after marking his return after 10 months sidelined with a goal.
Fati had been recovering from a serious knee injury which he sustained during a match against Real Betis back in November 2020.
However, he returned to action – coming off the bench in the 82 minutes – to score a sensational goal in the Catalans 3-0 win over Levante.
Fati proved he is worth on inheriting the No 10 after scoring a goal on his return from injury
Having worn the shirt during Barcelona’s victory over Levante, Fati, who swapped from No 17 to 10, says he feels proud rather than nervous when it comes to wearing it.
He said: ‘It is not a pressure. I am proud to wear the number 10 after Leo. I am happy with the club and captains for the opportunity.’
Speaking of his goal, Fait said: ‘I did not imagine a return like this. I am happy for the victory, there is still a long way to go.
‘Thanks to the doctors and physios who have been with me.
The 18-year-old says he feels proud rather than nervous when it comes to wearing the shirt
‘I am happy to help the team and for my family who have been suffering these months. I am very grateful to all.’
HISTORY OF NO 10s AT BARCELONA
1982-84: Diego Maradona
1991-92: Pep Guardiola
1993-94: Hristo Stoichkov
2002-03: Juan Roman Riquelme
2003-04 – 2007-08: Ronaldinho
2008-2021: Lionel Messi
The Catalan giants were unable to retire Messi’s shirt after he elected to join PSG as the Spanish FA’s rules require LaLiga teams to assign their 25-man squad the numbers 1-25.
Therefore, Barcelona made the decision to hand it to another graduate of the club’s famed La Masia academy instead.
Barcelona released as statement at the start of the month outlining why ‘record breaker’ Fati was the perfect player to be filing Messi’s shoes.
‘Ansu Fati has a new shirt number. After wearing the No 22 then No 17, the young Barca striker will proudly wear the number 10 shirt – a famous jersey previously worn by legends such as Leo Messi, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo,’ the statement read.
‘Despite being just 18 years of age and still recovering from injury, Ansu Fati forms part of Barca’s history as a record breaker and also with the Spanish national side.
‘Since his debut in August 2019, the youngster has set records in the league and Champions League.
‘Just six days after his debut for the first team he became the youngest ever player to score in the league for FC Barcelona. He is a record breaker who will now wear the magical No 10 shirt.’