Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu hopes Lionel Messi will put pen to paper on his new contract before the end of the year – despite previously suggesting the club wanted to make an official announcement this month.
Messi's future at the Nou Camp has been under question in recent months, with his contract due to expire at the end of the current season.
The Catalans appeared to put an end to the speculations on 5 July by announcing an agreement for the Argentine to remain at the Nou Camp until 2021.
"FC Barcelona and Leo Messi have agreed on a contract renewal that will keep the Argentinian at the club until 30 July 2021," the statement from the club read two months ago. "The deal will be signed in the coming weeks, when Messi returns to the team for pre-season training."
However, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is yet to sign the deal, amid suggestions that his relationship with the club's board is strained.
On 5 September the club president again tried to play down the concerns of Barcelona fans, assuring them the signing was a formality and would be official within the month.
Bartomeu revealed that Messi's father had already signed a 'triple' complex contract with an stunning release clause worth €300m (£264m, $358m).
"It's all agreed and signed. There are three contracts. One with the Messi Foundation, which is signed with the president of the Foundation and the player's brother. There's an image rights contract with Messi, which his father has signed, who is the administrator of his company, and the employment contract, which his father has signed, who has the power to do so," Bartomeu said to Sport. "
Pressed then whether the announcement will be made within a month, the Barcelona president added: "I hope so."
However, the signing may not be imminent, with Bartomeu now claiming he hopes Messi puts pen to paper on the deal before the end of the year.
"We will take the photo with Messi's signature, hopefully before the end of the year, but the contract has been signed by his father, who has the power of his image rights," Bartomeu said on Thursday night, as quoted by Marca.
The Barcelona president insisted that the picture of Messi signing the deal is a mere formality as the player is already playing under the new contract, which will last until 2022 – despite on 5 July the club said that the agreement was until 2021.
"His new contract belongs to the previous [financial] year and he is already playing under it. It is signed until 2022. The picture [of Messi signing the contract] will be positive for all parties," the president insisted.
Messi, meanwhile, doesn't seem to be affected at all by speculation as he has enjoyed another impressive start to the season, scoring eight goals in the first six games of the campaign.