Barcelona are ready to offer new deals to Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic. Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that committing the long term future of the quartet to the Nou Camp is the new priority of the Catalans following the end of the transfer window.
The La Liga giants have been very active during the summer to add depth to Luis Enrique's squad after last season they arrived at the last part of the campaign short of players, and failed to win the Champions League. The starting 11 was difficult to improve but Barcelona have still made six new additions to the ranks in Paco Alcacer, Andre Gomes, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne, Jasper Cillesen and Denis Suarez, spending a total of €122.75m (£102.7m, $137m) which could reach €175.5m with add-ons.
Luis Enrique has admitted that he will face the new season with the best squad he has had at his disposal since his arrival to the club in 2014. Bartomeu has hailed the Barcelona transfer overhaul and hopes that it will pay off at the end of the season.
"I arrived to the club board in 2003. Each year and each manager have had the best that Barcelona squad. I like this one very much. I'm very excited about this team because we have increased competitively," the Barcelona president said during an interview with RAC 1. "The target is to fight for every title until the last second, reaching every final. Last year we won four titles but this is not enough. Players are raring and motivated to get more."
Most of the new arrivals have been surprisingly young as the club is planning for both the present and the future. Bartomeu admits that the club are now ready to start the talks with four key players like Messi, Suarez, Rakitic and ter Stegen to commit them to the Camp Nou for the long term.
The club president had already announced their plans over the former three but now adds that the goalkeeper is also expected to be reward with a new deal after having left as the undisputable No1 following the departure of Claudio Bravo to Manchester City.
Keeper a key part of the future of the club
"Bravo has proven to be a great goalkeeper, we wanted him to renew but he opted to leave. Manchester City have signed a great goalkeeper," Bartomeu said. "We are going to speak with Rakitic, Suarez and Messi but also with ter Stegen. He still has three years left in his current contract but he is a key part of the future of the club. We have made a strong bet with him to be our keeper ahead of the future following the departure of Bravo. The economy of the club goes well. We must and we can afford to maintain this competitive team."
This way the quartet will follow the footsteps of other key players like Neymar, Javier Mascherano or Sergio Busquets who signed new deals during the 2015-2016 campaign.
"I never suffered for the continuity of Neymar," Bartomeud said when asked about the saga which involved the renewal of the Brazilian star. "We had a preliminary agreement months before (he signed the new deal). He wanted to stay at the club. He is one of the best in the world."
Meanwhile, Bartomeu remains coy on Barcelona's long-term plans for Luis Enrique, insisting that they are not planning to speak with the manager about his renewal in the near future.
"We will not talk about Luis Enrique's renewal until almost the end of season," he insisted. "Luis Enrique and (club technical secretary) Robert Fernandez already said that. He is focused on the new season. We have a very exciting season ahead with massive hopes. I think that we will start the talks on March, April or May but we have not set a deadline date."