Plenty of Barcelona's best players are getting new contracts.
According to a report from Mundo Deportivo, the Catalan club is planning to sign extensions of eight players throughout next season. For different reasons, president Josep Bartomeu and sporting director Robert Fernández feel that these eight footballers are essential to the present and the future of the club, and will make sure they're getting new contracts.
Here's a list of the Blaugrana signing new deals, divided in three categories:
1. The Priorities (Neymar Jr., Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi)
These are the three deals the Barça board is working the hardest on. Bartomeu and Robert feel like they're obligated to sign new contracts with the trio to ensure they will stay with the club and not listen to any offers from other European giants.
Neymar Jr. is at the top of the list. The Brazilian is considered as Barça's future superstar, the franchise, the player you build your entire team around, and his five-year contract is just two seasons away from an end. Neymar has made it clear he wants to stay as a Blaugrana regardless of his salary, but his entourage, especially his father, is fixated on getting as much money as they can out of Neymar's new contract. There have been negotiations for quite a few months, and a new deal has been already signed by all parties, according to latest reports, and will be announced this summer.
Busquets has grown into the best defensive midfielder on the planet after stepping out of the shadow of Xavi Hernández. The once underrated player is now a football superstar, and billionaires like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are interested in his signing. Busquets wants to stay, but wants a better deal than his current salary. Sergio is asking for a similar close to the highest earning players on the squad, and the board is in agreement.
Lionel Messi is another priority because, well, he is Lionel Messi. The board is not interested in upsetting the best footballer in history because of contract issues, and they're already planning a salary raise and more years for the Argentinean, who plans to retire as a Blaugrana, but (deservedly so) wants a little more money.
2. The Rewards (Andrés Iniesta, Luis Suárez, Ivan Rakitic)
These are players who are completely happy and satisfied with their current wages and have not approached the club to sign new deals, but have done so well that the board wants to reward them. Andrés Iniesta is the captain and has years of incredible services, and the club will give him a new deal as a show of appreciation.
Rakitic and Suárez arrived in Catalonia two years ago, completely adapted to the team, and are irreplaceable stars of the club. The Croatian midfielder is not as spectacular as Xavi was, but has done a fantastic job replacing him, and his work rate is nearly unmatched in the whole squad, which is why he will get a contract extension as a "thank you" from Bartomeu and Robert.
Suárez has exploded as a member of the 'MSN' trio, and after finishing his second season as the team's highest scorer in all competitions and the Pichichi of the Spanish League ahead of Messi and Ronaldo, he has certainly earned more years and money with the Catalans.
3. The (Sergi) Future (Sergi Roberto, Sergi Samper)
These are two guys who are part of Barça's future, maybe the stars alongside Neymar in a few years. Roberto has finally turned into a great player this season, showcasing his versatility and ability to shine in seven different positions on the team. He's the twelfth starter, and will definitely be a main attraction in the years to come. Since he's still got the contract from his Barça B days, he'll get a new one.
Samper is maybe the most promising La Masia player in the academy who's ready for promotion, but because of the depth in the first team midfield, he will not get any chances next season, and that might hurt his development. Barça is planning to loan him (Premier League is the most likely destination) to get experience before joining The Show for good, but before going to another team, he's getting a new contract to ensure he'll be a Barça player once his loan is over.