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La Liga : Man City transfer blow as Barcelona hopeful insists Messi WILL sign a new deal

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Barcelona chief Jordi Farre has insisted Lionel Messi will sign a new contract if he is elected as the club’s new president in a huge blow to Manchester City’s chances of signing him on a free transfer.

The Barcelona star is entering the final six months of his £500,000-a-week deal and has been heavily linked with an exit next year with reports claiming he is growing increasingly unhappy at the club following his failed move to Pep Guardiola’s City back in the summer.

Messi had been one of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s fiercest detractors after the smear campaign debacle earlier this year in which the president was accused of hiring a social media firm to orchestrate negative stories about the Argentina ace and other key club figures.

It was one of the reasons why Messi wanted to leave but the Spanish giants are now seeking new leadership after Bartomeu resigned having received  a vote of no confidence and Catalan businessman Farre is among the candidates to replace him in next month’s election.

The 45-year-old, who is running alongside Victor Font, Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa and Lluis Fernandez, has promised to tie Messi down to a new contract if he is voted in.

Farre said: ‘If we win the elections in January, Leo will renew his contract on the 25th.

‘He is the best player in the history of football and we have to offer him an exciting project.

‘We will be capable of motivating him and, the day after becoming president, I hope to have him renewed.’

City are planning to revive talks with Messi in the summer should he leave the club on a free transfer but will likely face competition from several other big hitters in Europe, including Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi’s relationship with Guardiola, who he spent four trophy-laden years with at Barcelona, will give City the edge in securing his signature if he moves on in the summer.

The 33-year-old tried to push a move through to City in the last window but was forced into staying after being dragged into a legal row over a clause in his contract which he thought would allow him to leave for free.

Barcelona have made sweeping changes behind the scenes in the past six months but have endured a difficult start to the season while Messi has struggled to produce his best performances under new boss Ronald Koeman.

The Argentine forward has only scored seven goals from 14 games in all competitions – and only two from open play – and last month hit out at Barcelona, saying: ‘I’m tired of always being the problem for everything at the club,’ after he was accused of having a ‘Nou Camp reign of terror’.

But Farre, who earlier this year claimed he had laid the foundations to appoint Jurgen Klopp as boss, is adamant once a new leader is established, it will convince star man  Messi to commit his future to his boyhood club.

‘Leo is a Cule (Barcelona fan) and is waiting for a new board to see what project he’s offered,’ Farre added.

‘What he wants is to be sold a dream, he needs that, and right now, not just the team, the club is sad and we need to give it a new impulse.

‘I think Leo will stay, we have the capacity to offer him an exciting project, I want him to stay and he must be part of the club’s future.

‘I would dare to say that, if we win the elections, Leo will renew on January 25.’

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