Barcelona are expected to step up their summer transfer activity after tying Lionel Messi to a new long-term contract.
The Spanish club’s priority this summer has been ensuring their best player remains at the Nou Camp.
With Messi’s contract due to expire in 12 months reports in Spain claim he flew to Barcelona the morning after marrying childhood sweetheart Antonela Roccuzzo in Rosario. Those reports go on to suggest he put pen-to-paper on a new deal while he was there with an announcement expected soon.
The development means Barcelona can now turn their full attention to securing their top summer transfer targets.
That could spell trouble for both Liverpool and Arsenal with Barcelona having been linked with Philippe Coutinho and Hector Bellerin respectively.
Coutinho has developed year on year at Anfield and last season – when fit – was Liverpool’s standout player. In recent months some of Barcelona’s players have publicly talked up the idea of the Brazilian moving to the Nou Camp.
Neymar on Coutinho
‘A Premier League player that I would like to have in Barcelona is Coutinho. I believe Philippe Coutinho is a player that would totally fit in Barcelona.’
Arsenal defender Bellerin came through Barcelona’s academy before switching to North London and has been linked with a return. The situation has echoes of Cesc Fabregas’s return to the Nou Camp.
Much of Bellerin’s family remains in Catalonia and various reports suggest he would be keen on the move.
What's been said about Bellerin's future?
Wenger on Bellerin: ‘No [he will not joining Barcelona]. We have just extended his contract and he has an unbelievable amount of years to go.’
Bellerin on Wenger: ‘The loyalty to this person [Wenger] is worth more than money, it’s something very important to me. That he’s there carries a lot of weight for me. Any player would be flattered by interest from Barca. It’s the best club in the world and that is very nice. When I left Barca my idea was not to return, because my exit was a little complicated.’
Barcelona have been linked with a host of other players this summer having ended last season with just the Copa del Rey.
They have already triggered a £10.6million buy-back clause for Gerard Deulofeu, who had been at Everton. Meanwhile reports emerged recently that they are keen on Tottenham flop Paulinho who is currently playing in China.
Leonardo Bonucci has been linked with a move to the Nou Camp (Getty)
As has his Italian team-mate Marco Verratti (Getty)
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Two higher-profile stars are also thought to be on the radar – Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci and Paris St Germain midfielder Marco Verratti.