Reports in the past week suggest that FC Barcelona has finally come to an agreement with Lionel Messi for a contract extension. However, the deal has not been signed, and the club is going under increasing pressure from their sponsors.
It is no secret that the club has attracted numerous partners due largely to the presence of the widely popular Argentine in the squad. The summer is in full swing and these same sponsors have had to hold off on their plans for upcoming advertising campaigns due to the uncertainty surrounding Messi's future.
Obviously, no one wants to begin producing images and other materials without the star of the show. Barcelona president Joan Laporta has insisted that things are progressing well and has called for calm and patience. However, sponsors can't put their promotions on hold for much longer.
Fans and club members may be agitated, but that is nothing compared to the sponsors who do not know if they will be able to work with Messi in the coming season. That puts Barcelona in a precarious position, especially since a number of these sponsors are also due for renewal at the end of the year.
To top that off, the club also fell in hot water against current major partners Konami and Rakuten, thanks to the racism scandal involving two of their players. A video taken by Ousmane Dembele recently went viral, showing him mocking Japanese hotel staff workers while teammate Antoine Griezmann laughed awkwardly with him.
Konami has already cut personal ties with Griezmann, and it is understood that both Japan-based companies are not letting the incident go that easily. Basically, the club is now in danger of damaging their relationships with sponsors even more.
There appears to be some progress in Griezmann's Atletico Madrid comeback, which would hit two birds with one stone. They will be able to pacify the Japanese sponsors by letting the Frenchman go, and at the same time they will be free of his sizable salary.