Reports suggest that Barcelona could possibly sell midfield duo of Arda Turan and Ivan Rakitic for $53m as the La Liga giants aim to raise more funds for the contract extension of club superstar Lionel Messi. The attacker, who will be turning 30 in June, is set to become a free agent as and when his Barcelona contract expires in 2018. The Argentina team captain is highly regarded as the best footballer in the world right now and he has drawn the attention and interest by a lot of cash-rich clubs, but the defending Spanish champions are said to be keen on keeping the five-time Ballon d’Or winner at Barcelona.

There are rumors that the Catalonian club has the “potential inability to meet his financial demands” and therefore they are considering to sell some of their “fringe first-team players in order to have the financial flexibility” to retain Messi with a “big-money extension”.

Both, Rakitic and Turan could help raise those fees since there’s interest in the two mid-fielders. And recent reports suggested how former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, now in charge of Manchester City, wants Rakitic to help offset the loss of injured play-maker Ilkay Gundogan.

The 28-year-old Croatian has been a key figure for Barcelona since joining in 2014, helping them win a treble in his first season. Rakitic is a considered a classy box-to-box runner who enables quick transitions between defense and attack.

Arda Turan is another player who has had a hard-time finding a permanent spot in Luis Enrique’s starting lineup as he is behind the front-line trio of Messi, Luis Suárez, and Neymar in the team’s pecking order.

Like Rakitic, Turan is a creative genius who can change matches in an instant with his vision and passing. He’s also quite versatile, which makes him able to operate on either flank or in a central attacking-midfield role.

In conclusion, keeping Messi is a necessity for Barcelona. However, the greater challenge will be striking the right balance between doing what it takes to retain their best player while not wrecking the balance and quality of manager Luis Enrique’s squad too much.