Barcelona have initiated contract negotiations with striker Luis Suarez in a bid to cool speculation linking the Uruguayan with a move to Manchester United for a world record fee.
United are reportedly prepared to spend £135million to sign Suarez but Barcelona are desperate to snuff out their interest by offering the former Liverpool forward a lucrative contract extension.
Suarez’s current deal runs out in the summer of 2019 but Barca president Jose Maria Bartomeu is keen to tie him down for a longer period of time.
Barca have already agreed new deals with his strike partner Neymar and Javier Mascherano and they’re confident Lionel Messi will also commit his future to the club in the coming months.
“For me, he is probably the best striker in Europe and we want him to be with us,” Bartomeu said.
“Right now, we are trying to extend his contract with Barcelona and he is one of our big future efforts because he is still young, he has a vision, a lot of ambition.
“He is happy at Barcelona and together with Lionel Messi and Neymar, they are really very dangerous.”
Suarez has been an incredible acquisition for the Catalan giants since joining the club from Anfield for a deal in the region of £75million in 2014.
The former Liverpool man was the La Liga top goalscorer last season with 40 goals and is part of one of the greatest strike forces of a generation alongside Messi and Neymar.
However, even though a transfer of that magnitude may seem appealing to Suarez, his close affiliation to Anfield may make the deal less likely.
Messi, on the other hand, has recently been linked with a move to the blue side of Manchester with Pep Guardiola opening the door for the five time Ballon d’Or winner to join City if he ever decided to leave the Nou Camp.
Bartomeu, however, isn’t fazed by the rumours suggesting that his most coveted star may leave the club.
“No, not annoyed. This is a decision for Leo Messi or for any player to change club,” he added.
“Right now Leo Messi has a contract to the end of the Russian World Cup [in 2018] and we are very happy with him. Very happy. He's the best player in the world, by far.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies