FC Barcelona, The European giants, the club that is flooded with trophies and has reigned the world of European Football for years, is in a position of a financial struggle. This situation was not created in just a fortnight. The reign of Josep Bartomeu as the FC Barcelona president has surely left the club in a position no one could have imagined the Catalans to be in. His time in the club left the financials devastated.
During the term, the club started to tumble as they began losing major competitions and were deprived of trophies since the 2016-17 season, so various big names were signed to keep this degrading side in the race. Despite Lionel Messi performing on his best every season, giving the team all he had, it was not enough to win those trophies. For 3 consecutive seasons, they were destroyed in UEFA Champions League after taking a lead in the first legs of the matches. After the thrashing of 2019-20 by Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League where they lost by a margin of 8-2, everyone lost their confidence in the board and they came under pressure which lead to their imminent removal.
Before his resignation, Josep Bartomeu made big-money signings throughout the years such as Phillipe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and many other signings which failed drastically. These players were handed huge contracts which led to huge transfer fees as well as a massive wage bill. These players were barely performing resulting in no or very little return out of them.
All these financial burdens eventually came back to bite FC Barcelona when the board was deep in debt. During the 2020-21 season, FC Barcelona was in a debt of 1 billion pounds (Approx.). They were on the verge of bankruptcy. The emergence of the pandemic added more to their worries as fans were not allowed in the stadium which is a major source of income for any club. The president eventually resigned and Joan Laporte took over.
Fast forward to the ending of season 2020-21, FC Barcelona signed 4 new players- Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson. Three of them were on free transfers while Emerson was called back from Real Betis considering his performance this season. Messi currently is out of a contract and is a free agent. The speculations regarding his renewal are very positive from both parties.
All these signings as well as the renewal of Lionel Messi hit a speed bump as Laliga’s board reduced the wage cap of all the clubs considering the hit of the pandemic on the economic aspect of the clubs. The reduced wage cap landed FC Barcelona in turmoil again as they could not register the new players and cannot renew Lionel Messi’s contract even if he extended on the current wages. A lot of the existing players had to reduce their wages so that the club can fight against this debt that the previous board landed FC Barcelona into.
FC Barcelona was tasked to reduce their wage bill by 200 million pounds. Joan Laporte has been leading the charge to rebuild the squad through new improved signings with the departure of dead weight that Barca has been carrying around for years. He had already intimated that a lot of players will be leaving the club and various players with massive wage bills will have to take a massive pay cut.
The intent could be seen by the board of FC Barcelona as many departures are planned including players like Phillipe Coutinho, Martin Braithwaite, Miralem Pjanic and many more. Their departures would make a significant difference in the wage bill which eventually could be Barca’s cure.
The recent reports suggest that Lionel Messi has taken a massive pay cut of 50% in his wages. Earlier Lionel Messi’s contract saw him earn 555 million pounds over a term of 4 years. 363 Million pounds was the value of wages in this contract. The new contract would see him earn 30 million pounds in a year which is half the amount of the previous contract. The terms of the contract are still not clear to the public except for the fact that Lionel Messi will be taking a massive pay cut to finance the renewal. We still have to wait and see how the renewal pans out. No matter what the terms of the contract are a renewal is imminent as both the parties are assured about how they feel regarding the extension.
The Culers won’t be seeing their little magician leave the Camp Nou any time soon.
This transfer window will see a lot of changes and a lot of departures in FC Barcelona. They’ll have to carefully involve in transfers as they wouldn’t want to repeat a ‘Luis Suarez’ fiasco that eventually haunted them during the LaLiga season.