Tagged in: wage cut

Lionel Messi agrees Barcelona contract, accepts significant wage cut

Lionel Messi and Barcelona have reached an agreement for the forward to sign a new five-year deal with the Catalan club, sources have confirmed to ESPN. Sources added that Messi has accepted a significant wage cut to prolong his stay.

Messi was a free agent after his contract at Barca expired, and he had courted interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City since first revealing a desire to end his 20-year relationship with Barca last summer. The 34-year-old’s previous contract, which was worth over €500 million ($594m) over four years, expired at the stroke of midnight on June 30.

However, with the return of Joan Laporta as president in March, Messi grew more open to staying at Camp Nou. An official announcement is expected in the coming days. Laporta had hoped to finalize an agreement before Messi’s previous terms expired. Barca’s financial problems made that impossible, though, with their gross debt over €1 billion. Cutbacks have been essential, in terms of transferring players out, reducing the wage bill and getting Messi to accept a lower salary.

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La Liga president Javier Tebas has warned Barca they will not be permitted to register Messi’s new deal if they are unable to reduce spending to comply with the league’s Financial Fair Play rules. Barca’s spending limit has been reduced from over €600m to €347m since the coronavirus pandemic, with further reductions expected to be imposed for the upcoming season.

Therefore, to register Messi’s new deal, in addition to new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, Barca need to continue reducing the wage bill and moving players on. With that in mind, sources at the club refuse to rule out the departure of Antoine Griezmann, a €120m signing in 2019.

Messi is on holiday with his family after his Copa America triumph with Argentina last weekend, which was his first senior trophy with his national team.

He will link up with Ronald Koeman’s squad later in the summer, with Barca’s league campaign kicking off on Aug. 15 versus Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.

Messi had first expressed a desire to leave Barca last August after the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. His relationship with then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu had reached a breaking point.

In a September 2020 interview with Goal, after Barca had blocked his departure, Messi called Bartomeu a “liar” and said the board had been “making things up as they go along” and “plugging holes” for years.

Bartomeu, facing a vote of no confidence, resigned last October and was ultimately replaced by Laporta in March. Laporta has a good relationship with Messi and his family. He was Barca’s president when Messi made his first-team debut and when he signed his first professional contract with the club.

Sources told ESPN in April that Laporta was working on a contract renewal for Messi that included the option of playing in Major League Soccer before returning to Barcelona.

In public and in private, Laporta had always maintained that he was “convinced” he could persuade Messi to stay. The club have already made a series of signings this summer, bringing in Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, as well as recalling Emerson Royal.

Messi first joined Barca’s academy in 2000 and has gone on to play 778 games for the club, breaking Xavi Hernandez’s appearance record last season. He has scored 672 goals, another club record, and has helped Barca win, among other trophies, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions.

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Arsenal players, coaches agree 12.5 wage cut

Arsenal players and coaching staff have approved to take a voluntary 12.5 per cent pay cut to help support the club financially during the coronavirus crisis.

Talks will continue on an individual basis with some players who have not agreed to the deal, but the vast majority of players have agreed to blanket measures. The proposal will stay on the table for those who have not yet agreed to it.

A statement from the club clarified the agreement is based on the assumption that the 2019-20 Premier League season will be completed, and that full broadcasting revenue will be received as a result.

The statement read: “The move follows positive and constructive discussions.

“In these conversations there has been a clear appreciation of the gravity of the current situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and a strong desire for players and staff to show their backing for the Arsenal family.

“Reductions of total annual earnings by 12.5 per cent will come into effect this month, with the contractual paperwork being completed in the coming days.

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“If we meet specific targets in the seasons ahead, primarily linked to success on the pitch, the club will repay agreed amounts.

“We will be able to make those repayments as hitting these targets, which the players can directly influence, will mean our financial position will be stronger.

“The agreement is based on the assumption we will finish the season 2019-20 and receive the full broadcasting revenues.

“The resulting savings will help cover some of the financial risks we have this season in relation to our matchday and commercial income.

“We are proud and grateful to our players and staff for pulling together to support our club, our people and our community in these unprecedented times which are some of the most challenging we have faced in our history.”

Last Monday, players refused a wage-cut proposal but talks with manager Mikel Arteta helped steer the club towards an amicable resolution.

Despite cutbacks, transfer plans are still being made.

The Gunners have contacted Reims over a potential €15 million (£13m/$16m) move for 22-year-old centre-back Axel Disasi, while fellow defender Pablo Mari is hopeful his loan switch from Flamengo will be made permanent.

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