La Liga president Javier Tebas admitted that Barcelona are "closer" to re-signing Lionel Messi but made it clear that the Catalan club will not be given any leeway unless they reduce their wage bill. He also confirmed that the club are also yet to register new signings Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay owing to their high salary cap.
Messi is currently a free agent after his contract with Barcelona expired on June 30. Barcelona are confident about tying down the Argentine superstar to a new deal but their dire financial situation is delaying the announcement.
The Catalan club have fallen foul of the La Liga's Financial Fair Play rules and are desperately looking to raise funds by offloading players and trying to convince senior players to take further pay cuts. Tebas is certain that Barcelona will recover once things normalise following the global pandemic and went on to explain why the La Liga giants have fallen into troubled times.
"Barcelona are facing uncertain times but they will be able to solve their problems because they have the highest turnover in the world," Tebas said, as quoted on ESPN. "We allow new players [to be registered] whenever they reduce the current wage bill."
"For each euro they want to use for signups, they have to save €4. For example, if the players that Barca have signed, [Sergio] Aguero and others, are going to cost €50m for the next season, it means €200m must be saved, either by transfers or by reducing the wage bill."
Tebas is also certain that Messi will have to take a major pay cut to sign a new deal. The Argentina international's previous contract was worth more than €500 million over four years. The La Liga president believes no club in Europe will be able to pay him a similar amount not even Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
"City have lost €270m [during the pandemic] so obviously they wouldn't even consider signing Messi [on his previous salary]," the La Liga chief added. "PSG have had losses, too, so they can't even consider signing Messi [for that much]."
"If they do, it will be financial doping. It would be incredible if it happened. We need to establish limits. Financial doping is damaging football."