Barcelona presidential hopeful Victor Font has called for the immediate resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu so that Lionel Messi can be offered the “guarantees” that will prevent him from entering into transfer talks from January.
Plans to push for a move elsewhere have been shelved, with the six-time Ballon d’Or not prepared to open a legal battle with Barca when it comes to a €700 million (£624m/$823m) release clause in his contract.
He has, however, entered the final 12 months of his current deal and will be free to speak with suitors outside of Spain from the turn of the year.
While Font is delighted to see a talismanic staying put for now, the fear of a move being made at some stage continues to hang heavy over the Liga giants.
Messi has become disillusioned with life under the Bartomeu regime and calls for an under-fire president to step aside are mounting in intensity.
It has been revealed that elections will be brought forward to March 2021, but Font says that may be too late to right the wrongs of the recent past and wants the door to be opened for a new board to step in prior to another window of opportunity presenting itself to an all-time great.
He said in Sport that “a project of maximum winning possibility should be presented, with competent people in the technical team and the board.”
Font added: “The next project should begin as soon as possible.
“Leo can negotiate from January with another club and it's necessary for Messi to believe these guarantees for the future before he's free.
“The board should resign and start the elections as quickly as we can.
“In the coming months there will be important decisions for the future of the club and Messi too. If the elections are not brought forward it will not be possible for a new president to make these calls.”
Messi was heavily linked with the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain prior to making a U-turn on his immediate future and big-spending sides from across Europe will continue to closely monitor his situation heading towards January.