If it were possible, Barcelona will not want Lionel Messi to leave the squad until eternity, but they have to start planning for life after him now that he is 31 years old.
The Catalans' core, talking about Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, are catching up with age, but getting a replacement for their captain and all-time top goalscorer is going to be the primary and most difficult task.
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Barcelona don't have any rightful successor, so they will be looking at someone external according to reports.
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is Barcelona's primary target as they seek to replace Lionel Messi.
Barcelona’s plan is to land the Egypt international in 2021 when Messi will be 33 or 34 years old.
Messi will not immediately be leaving or get phased out, but the former AS Roma and Chelsea forward will be slowly introduced to the scene in what will be a transitional phase for Barcelona who have to deal with life after Lionel Messi.
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Neymar was the prime man to replace Messi, with his arrival from Santos suggesting that the 26-year-old is capable of inheriting Messi's boots.
The Brazil international decided to switch pastures in 2017 and left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.
While a move to Catalonia has been speculated of late and even Neymar has been stepping up his efforts to leave Paris, there is more chance than not of him being elsewhere than at Barcelona.
Barcelona have to turn their attention to signing someone and Salah has been identified as the perfect man by them.
If one statistically has a look, the majority of Salah's goals have come against smaller opposition in the league and he has failed in turning up against the top 6 sides, except Arsenal.
Should he go to Spain, he will struggle to break defences which have a stubborn organisation.
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The question is this: is Salah the right player to replace Messi or Barcelona should look at other options?
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 years ago