Talks regarding a new, improved contract haven't yet materialized. With his current contract running down on June 30 this year, Messi is free to enter talks with other clubs and join as a free agent.
The report claims that after taking cognisance of the club's financial status, Laporta has made first contact with Lionel Messi's entourage. Barcelona are expected to table their initial offer to their talisman in the coming days, following which talks between the two parties will officially commence.
Lionel Messi was on the verge of leaving Barcelona at the end of last season. But then-club president Josep Maria Bartomeu blocked the move, and Messi stayed put at Camp Nou for another season.
Now, with the election of a new president - Joan Laporta - Barcelona have started putting in the work to ensure Lionel Messi extends his stay at Camp Nou.
Laporta, on his appointment last month, said of Lionel Messi's contract extension:
“I will do everything I can to try to convince Leo to stay. He knows this. We will try everything because he is the best player in history and forgive me for saying this to you in front of everyone here, but you know how much I love you and how much we want you to stay."
Along with trying to tie down Lionel Messi to a new contract, Barcelona are also working on extending the contracts of Ousmane Dembele and midfielder Ilaix Moriba. The duo's respective contracts run out in 2022.
Manchester City pull out of race to sign Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi looked set to reunite with former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City at the end of last season. But a blocked move and six months later, the Premier League giants have reportedly pulled out of the race to sign the Argentine talisman.
A report from SPORT claims that the City hierarchy believes Lionel Messi will renew his contract with Barcelona.
Lionel Messi hasn't let the rumors surrounding his Barcelona future affect his on-field performances, though.
He is La Liga's top-scorer with 23 goals this season. In Europe's top-five leagues, only Robert Lewandowski (35 in the Bundesliga) has scored more league goals than Lionel Messi this season.