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Joan Laporta identifies three possible replacements for Barcelona star Lionel Messi

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta has identified three potential candidates to replace Lionel Messi in the summer, a report from Diario Gol claims.

The election for the 41st Blaugrana president will be held on March 7 and Laporta is regarded as the favourite to win.

Should he take over the seat, he will have to make a decision over Messi’s future whose contract expires at the end of June.

The Argentine has yet to show any intention to sign a renewal and it is now reported that the club may not be able to afford the extension itself.

It was recently revealed by El Mundo that the club will have spent a staggering €555m on Messi by the conclusion of his four-year contract this summer.

With Messi potentially on the move, Diario Gol has mentioned three potential candidates to replace the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe has only 17 months left on his contract and it is claimed that the Blaugrana could compete with Real Madrid for the player.

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland has been highlighted as another option for them, though the player’s £65m buy-out clause only becomes active in June 2022.

Lastly, Mohamed Salah of Liverpool has been named and it has been mentioned that the Egyptian does not see face-to-face with manager Jurgen Klopp.

Messi has been pivotal to the Blaugrana’s success for more than a decade and he continues to remain the standout player in the squad.

The Argentine was desperate to leave the club last summer, but the Blaugrana refused to release him unless the whooping €700m buy-out clause on his contract was triggered.

With just five months remaining on his contract, he now has the chance to negotiate with an overseas club ahead of a free transfer in the summer.

Out of respect for the Blaugrana, he appears likely to wait until June to decide on his future, but the club need to have a contingency plan in place.

Mbappe, Haaland or Salah would all be quality additions to the squad, but none of them may come on the cheap during next summer’s transfer window.

The Blaugrana can anticipate to spend more than £100m (€113m) on any of those players.

Considering their financial concerns, they may not afford to sign one of them and keep Messi at the club.

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