Barcelona will offer Marc-Andre ter Stegen an improved contract before the end of the year to reflect his growing importance at the club, multiple sources have told ESPN.
Barca are finalising their plans for the summer, when they will invest heavily in the squad, with Neymar and Lautaro Martinez among their top targets, before turning their attention to renewing some of the team’s key players.
Sources have told ESPN that president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whose mandate runs until 2021, wants to ensure that both Lionel Messi and Ter Stegen have signed new deals by the time he leaves his role.
Messi’s terms run until 2021 but he could leave the club for free in the summer if he chooses to. However, he recently said that he is happy at Barca, where he has spent his whole career, while the club are optimistic of agreeing a new contract with him soon.
Ter Stegen, meanwhile, has two years to run on his deal, which expires in 2022, but his role at the club has greatly changed since he signed his last renewal in 2017. After Messi, many people now feel the goalkeeper is the most important player in Quique Setien’s team.
The Germany international is happy at the club but Barca will have to show him how much they value him to ensure that remains the case.
Pep Guardiola desperately tried to take him to Manchester City in 2016 before eventually signing Claudio Bravo instead, with Barca backing Ter Stegen over the Chilean, who had been their No. 1 in La Liga for the previous two seasons. Sources have told ESPN that, more recently, Juventus have shown an interest.
Reports earlier this week even suggested that Ter Stegen could leave at the end of the season but sources close to the player insist that is not the case.
Messi and Sergio Busquets are among those to have criticised the club in recent weeks as the rift between the players and the board widens and Ter Stegen also feels there are areas where things can be improved. However, his preference is to stay at Camp Nou.
Hope it happens because I have my doubts if he would want to stay on a sinking ship when many would want him
— IBES (@IBES16) March 4, 2020
In a 2018 interview with ESPN, Ter Stegen said that he feels “more and more Catalan” all the time and he has recently moved into a new house in Castelldefels, which he helped design. He also became a father for the first time in January, with the baby born in Barcelona.
He has also just signed a sponsorship deal with the Catalan car manufacturer Cupra, which sources explain is another sign of his commitment to the region which he’s called his home since signing from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014.