Barcelona captain Andrés Iniesta has recently turned down two offers from the Chinese Super League, one of them for an eye-watering €35 million after tax as well as other perks, such as not having to play away games.
For the moment, Iniesta has rejected these offer but football’s new superpower is persistent and Iniesta’s contract negotiations with Barca are yet to reach fruition. The Spaniard’s contract expires in 2018.
Iniesta, who will be 33 in May, is represented by former teammate Carles Puyol and they were not convinced by the club’s initial 2-year offer.
Barcelona’s financial aspects are not looking good either – the club is desperately trying to free up funds to hand Leo Messi a new deal – but for Iniesta, there is a greater concern. So far this season the captain has played just 1,390 minutes, or 39.6 percent of the available total. The midfield playmaker has been out injured for some of that time and he is concerned about his waning influence in the squad.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to say, be it one thing or another, Iniesta and Barcelona will never have any kind of problem,” he said on Thursday, adding cryptically that “this has been a different year.”
Iniesta could follow Xavi’s footstep to find play time elsewhere. Xavi left in at the end of 2014/15 for Qatar after seeing his playing time drastically reduced after Luis Enrique opted to hand Ivan Rakitic the central role on a more regular basis.