THE UNTOUCHABLE TRIO: Lionel Messi, Marc-Andre ter-Stegen and Frenkie de Jong ‘are the only Barcelona stars safe from being included in exchange deals’ this summer due to financial impact of coronavirus crisis
- Lionel Messi is one of three players thought to be ‘untouchable’ at Barcelona
- The three stars have a combined number of 102 appearances so far this season
- Barcelona are still hoping to pursue strikers Lautaro Martinez and Neymar
- But moves mean that several players will have to leave the club or be exchanged
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong and Marc-Andre ter-Stegen are the only players safe at Barcelona this summer, according to reports.
The LaLiga side are planning to restructure their approach to transfers due to the financial implications of the coronavirus crisis.
The club are still planning to pursue several targets including Neymar and Lautaro Martinez but are planning to include makeweights in potential deals.
Captain and Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi is one of three Barcelona players safe this summer
Midfielder Frenkie de Jong is also not expected to be included in any exchange deal transfers
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter-Stegen is the final and third player who is reportedly not at risk
And captain Messi, De Jong and Ter-Stegen are the only players who are not at risk of being made part of a transfer, sources have told ESPN.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said last month that the club would still be able to be competitive when the market re-opens but admitted deals may ‘look different’.
‘There is not going to be as much money in the transfer market because of the pandemic,’ he said.
Antoine Griezmann is rumoured to be one of the players who could be included in an exchange
Lautaro Martinez is a target with the Inter Milan striker having a release clause of £96million
‘But I predict that we are going to see a lot more swap deals.’
Bartomeu has had a difficult week after five other club officials resigned from the board in protest at how he was running operations.
One of the officials who resigned was vice-president Emili Rousaud but he has stated his belief that club captain Messi will sign a new contract.
The Ballon d’Or winner’s current deal runs out in 2021 and he has been linked with a move away following several disputes with club chiefs.
One player who is rumoured who could be included in any exchange is Antoine Griezmann with the Frenchman having failed to live up to expectations since arriving from Atletico Madrid.
The club have already committed to two summer transfers with forward Francisco Trincao joining from Braga for around £26mmillion while midfielder Pedri will arrive from Las Palmas for an initial £4.35m.
Neymar almost completed a return to the Nou Camp last summer but could still be re-signed
Messi, De Jong and Ter-Stegen are all regulars and have 102 appearances between them in all competitions this season.
Club chiefs are aware they may have to opt for one or the other when it comes to Martinez and Neymar.
Inter Milan’s Martinez has a release clause of £96m which can only be triggered for a brief period in July.
The striker has 16 goals and four assists in 31 games across all competitions this season and has previously admitted a desire to play alongside compatriot Messi.
Neymar left Barca in 2017 for a world record fee but the club tried – and failed – to take him back to the Nou Camp last summer.
The Brazilian has 18 goals and 10 assists in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain this season.
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