We take a look at some of the major stories doing the rounds regarding La Liga champions FC Barcelona.

Sanchez Hails Barcelona Influence

Barcelona's Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his third goal during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Elche CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on January 5, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ JOSEP LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona’s Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his third goal during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Elche CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on January 5, 2014. AFP PHOTO

The Chilean international has been in superb form since joining Arsenal from Barcelona in the summer of 2014 for a fee reported to be worth around £31.7 million. Sanchez has managed to make that price look like a huge bargain, given that he’s scored 55 goals in 114 appearances, and also helped them to an FA cup title and 2 FA Community Shields. He has established himself as one of the finest players on the planet and easily Arsenal’s most important, so it comes as no surprise that the Gunners are keen to ensure that he stays at the club for the long term.

However, in a recent interview with Performance, he has attributed his consistent form and style of playing to the time he spent at Barcelona. He moved to the La Liga giants after impressing with Serie A side Udinese and according to MARCA, he said “At Barcelona, I learned how to play football all over again. From Andres Iniesta I learned how to accelerate and change tempos, from Xavi how to move, from Lionel Messi how to think about what’s next and from Pedro how to shoot.”

In his 3 seasons at the Nou Camp, he was never able to fully establish himself in the squad, facing competition from the likes of Messi, Pedro and David Villa whilst also being marred by small injuries throughout. However, he clearly managed to keep developing as a player and managed to make 141 appearances and score 47 goals during that time, out of which he scored 21 in his final season before moving away to make way for Neymar’s arrival.

Suarez Close To Contract Extension

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 03: Luis Suarez of Barcelona celebrates scoring the opening goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on December 3, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

BARCELONA, SPAIN – DECEMBER 03: Luis Suarez of Barcelona celebrates scoring the opening goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on December 3, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Uruguayan hitman is close to agreeing a contract extension which would see him stay at the Nou Camp up until 2021. Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed in an interview with Radio Vision that the 29-year-old would continue to ply his trade with the Catalan giants for the foreseeable future. In a report from Spanish publication SPORT, he is reported to have said “There are just a few final details [to sort]. But Luis will continue at Barcelona. He’s well loved by everyone and he loves the club. In the coming days, weeks, we will announce it.” Bartomeu went on to say that it could be a great Christmas present for the fans, as they understand that he is an ‘important personality’ and the part he plays in their ‘spectacular trident’.

Since joining in the summer of 2014 from Liverpool, he has scored an amazing 96 goals in a mere 115 appearances for the club. Last season, he topped the European scoring charts with 59 goals in all competitions. Alongside Messi and Neymar, he has taken the La Liga and the rest of Europe by storm, helping them to 8 trophies so far. The president also believes that the former Liverpool striker would stick around for many years to come and that should he wish to stay at Barcelona after he retired, the club would be open to having him. He went on to say “We would like Luis Suarez forever at Barcelona. We have a project, called La Masia (360), in which we hope that the players, when they retire, remain linked to the club.”

Messi’s Father Arrives For Contract Talks

Harry Kane could be the next poster boy for Qatar after Lionel Messi. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Harry Kane could be the next poster boy for Qatar after Lionel Messi. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Jorge Messi, father of Lionel Messi has arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday to discuss a contract extension for his son with President Bartomeu. The 29-year-old attacker has a contract which runs until 2018 and after securing Neymar for the long term with Suarez set to follow suit, the Blaugrana have Messi next on their agenda and will hope to secure his long term future as a one club man. The Argentine has once again been in superb form this season, scoring  20 goals and registering 7 assists in 18 games this season and has been integral to maintaining his side’s title hopes in all competitions, saving them on numerous occasions.

According to Spanish publication SPORT, the meeting will be held before Christmas break and will be centered around 2 objectives. The first being the sporting aspect, which is reportedly good as they are close to extending Suarez’s contract and ensuring that football’s deadliest attacking trio are together. The second is the economic aspect, with Barcelona set to make Messi the highest paid footballer in the world, ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and make sure that like Iniesta, he stays at the club for the rest of his career. Luis Enrique’s side have been ravaged with injury in recent months and are currently on a very erratic run of form, which has seen them slip to second place in the La Liga standings, 6 points behind Real Madrid, emphasizing Messi’s importance to the side this campaign more than ever.

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