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A long-term deal to Ansu Fati is impossible due to Barca’s financial crisis

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Barcelona are desperate to keep hold of their new No 10 Ansu Fati and have tabled a new contract extension.

Fati, who is currently under contract at the Nou Camp until 2022, has told his agent Jorge Mendes and the club that he wants to stay at Barcelona.

Mendes received an extension offer from Barcelona three weeks ago after the club’s football director Mateu Alemany had been working on a proposal for a month and a half, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Alemany and Mendes are set to sit down once the agent returns from a family holiday to Qatar to see the new contract over the line.

On September 15, a dinner took place between the Fati family and Mendes, who were joined by Alemany.

The agent and director stayed behind after Fati, his father and brother left, to discuss the contract with the confidence that the forward’s priority was to remain at the club.

Mendes and the club have been in constant communication and have discussed that the contract will not be long-term on the basis that it will be reviewed later once Barcelona’s economic situation has improved.

Barcelona’s disastrous finances were laid bare after they were given just a €98million (£85m) salary cap by LaLiga for the 2021-22 season – a seventh of Real Madrid’s €739m (£638m) allocation.

The Catalans’ financial Armageddon has been well documented and LaLiga have long held firm on their stance that they would not make special dispensation for the club.

In the 2018-19 season the Catalan side had a salary cap of €671m (£580m), which was slashed to €382.7m (£331m), a fall of €288.3m (£249m).

But a further squeeze on Barcelona’s finances, exacerbated by the pandemic but due to unsustainable wage to turnover ratios, has seen that figure now fall to the £85m they have this season.

Debts are believed to have racked up to more than £1.1billion at the Nou Camp in recent seasons.

The Blaugrana’s staggering debt has already hindered their transfer plans over the summer seeing their talisman Lionel Messi depart the club to join PSG on a free after the Catalans could no longer afford to keep his salary on the wage books.

Barcelona also found themselves desperate to shift other high earners, including Antoine Griezmann and Miralem Pjanic.

Fati inherited Messi’s infamous No 10 following the Argentine’s departure and has swiftly replaced the Nou Camp veteran as Barcelona’s most prized asset.

The 18-year-old has proven he is worthy of the number after marking his return after 10 months sidelined with a goal.

Fati had been recovering from a serious knee injury which he sustained during a match against Real Betis back in November 2020.

However, he returned to action – coming off the bench in the 82 minutes – to score a sensational goal in the Catalans 3-0 win over Levante.

Having worn the shirt during Barcelona’s victory over Levante, Fati, who swapped from No 17 to 10, says he feels proud rather than nervous when it comes to wearing it.

He said: ‘It is not a pressure. I am proud to wear the number 10 after Leo. I am happy with the club and captains for the opportunity.’

Speaking of his goal, Fait said: ‘I did not imagine a return like this. I am happy for the victory, there is still a long way to go.

‘Thanks to the doctors and physios who have been with me.

‘I am happy to help the team and for my family who have been suffering these months. I am very grateful to all.’

The Catalan giants were unable to retire Messi’s shirt after he elected to join PSG as the Spanish FA’s rules require LaLiga teams to assign their 25-man squad the numbers 1-25.

Therefore, Barcelona made the decision to hand it to another graduate of the club’s famed La Masia academy instead.

Barcelona released as statement at the start of the month outlining why ‘record breaker’ Fati was the perfect player to be filing Messi’s shoes.

‘Ansu Fati has a new shirt number. After wearing the No 22 then No 17, the young Barca striker will proudly wear the number 10 shirt – a famous jersey previously worn by legends such as Leo Messi, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo,’ the statement read.

‘Despite being just 18 years of age and still recovering from injury, Ansu Fati forms part of Barca’s history as a record breaker and also with the Spanish national side.

‘Since his debut in August 2019, the youngster has set records in the league and Champions League.

‘Just six days after his debut for the first team he became the youngest ever player to score in the league for FC Barcelona. He is a record breaker who will now wear the magical No 10 shirt.’

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13 goals before 19 years old! Ansu Fati betters Messi’s stats

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Ansu Fati has not stopped breaking records since his emergence, both with Barcelona and with the Spanish national team, with numbers that better those of Leo Messi when he entered the professional scene.

Against Valencia he achieved another feat, becoming the Barcelona player with the most goals before the age of 19, with 13 strikes.

He is followed by Bojan Krkic, with 12, and Leo Messi, with seven. The young attacker managed seven goals in his debut season and four in the last campaign, of which he missed the majority due to injury.

His numbers are right up there with those of Messi as, at 18 years and 351 days old, Ansu has 15 goals for Barcelona while the Argentine, at the same age, had eight goals.

Ronald Koeman took Ansu off on 59 minutes due to his recent return to injury, but also because the Clasico is coming up this weekend and the teenager is already a pivotal player.

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Jurgen Klopp: Salah better than Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says, on current form, Mohamed Salah is the best player in the world after the Egyptian shone in the 5-0 win over Watford.

After scoring one of the most memorable goals of recent years in the draw with Manchester City two weeks ago, Salah was at it again at Vicarage Road, scoring a breathtaking effort and setting up two other goals in the 5-0 win over Watford.

It was Salah’s 10th goal of the season – he has scored in Liverpool’s last eight games.

Klopp was in no mood for dampening down the praise afforded to Salah, calling him the best player in the world.

He told BT Sport: “His performance was massive today. The pass for the first goal was great and the second goal was special. He is top. We all see it. Who is better than him? We don’t have to talk about what Messi and Ronaldo have done for world football and their dominance. But right now, he is the best.”

When asked for his assessment of the overall performance, Klopp added: “It was good! I cannot say differently. After international break, it is hard to find the rhythm after playing different systems, but the boys were so good despite only having one session before today. I think Watford had ideas, but we didn’t let them play. The goals were really brilliant, there was great attitude, energy and character.”

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Leicester 4-2 Man Utd: Foxes stifle Red Devils’ desperate hope for an EPL win

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Manchester United’s 29-game unbeaten away run ended in dramatic fashion as Leicester triumphed 4-2 in a six-goal thriller at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Mason Greenwood slammed the visitors into the lead after a clever one-two with Bruno Fernandes, before Foxes midfielder Youri Tielemans found the top corner from the edge of the box to level just after the half-hour.

The game exploded late on, when Caglar Soyuncu, Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy netted in the space of six minutes to swing the game decisively in Leicester’s favour.

The result leaves United behind fourth-placed Brighton and outside the Champions League spots, with Brendan Rodgers’ side moving up to 11th.

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