FC Barcelona has been through a rough patch in their club. Whether it’s in terms of trophies, team chemistry, finance or stability. They have had a couple of rough years with their board members being replaced along with the election of a new president.
The preceding president Josep Bartomeu was very much responsible for the state Barcelona is in today. A lack of judgement, huge transfer fees for players who underperformed and massive wage bills are just some of the factors responsible for the current state. With the new President Joan Laporte, there is a ray of hope that he could be the one who could rescue Barcelona from this ‘debt trap’.
The club required a board that backs the players, has an understanding with them and makes sustainable decisions in doing so. This board has shown initiative to transform the club. They have been at it from the start.
Lionel Messi, one of the world’s best players, who was bound to leave the club where he spent his entire senior footballing career stayed because he saw a vision and a strong sporting project with the board of Joan Laporte. They were able to convince him to stay by showing that they had what it takes to bring this club back to the top.
The board had 2 main issues that they had to counter-
I. Lionel Messi’s Extension
It was of utmost importance to extend Lionel Messi’s contract. They could not have let the best player in the world just leave the club because of the incompetence of the board members. It has still not been officially announced but it is predicted that Messi will be signing a contract for 5 more years and will continue to glorify the pitch of Camp Nou. He has agreed to take a massive wage cut to facilitate the extension with the board of LaLiga capping the wage bill of the clubs.
II. Incoming players and cutting out dead weight
FC Barcelona has a lot of players with massive wage bills. They have been collecting players who underperformed in the club. Decisions like these are the epitome of how unsustainable the reign of Josep Bartomeu has been. They are currently in debt of more than £1 billion and have to reduce the wage bill by £200 million.
The reason for this wage cut is the TRANSFERS.
• FC Barcelona has been very active this transfer window as Joan Laporte is leading the charge to remove the players who are not in accordance with the plans of Ronald Koeman.
• A lot of players have been handed hefty contracts which include humungous wages which could not be fulfilled due to the debt as well as the Covid-19 pandemic cutting short the earnings of clubs.
• Joan Laporte has completed 4 transfers; three of them were on FREE. These players include Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia. Emerson was called back from Real Betis for a minimal £8 million.
• Sergio Aguero ==> The player is a former Manchester City out and out striker capable of poaching the balls that come his way. He is a clinical finisher and shares a good relation with Lionel Messi as they have been playing together in the national team.
• Memphis Depay ==> A 27-year-old player like Memphis Depay on free is a bargain at any time of the year. He has been phenomenal with Lyon in Ligue 1 last season and has a good existing relationship with Ronald Koeman.
• Eric Garcia • Another young and prospective talent who was also a Manchester City player. A young CB was essential for FC Barcelona as they have an ageing defence. With the likes of Pique and Alba ageing, they needed to replenish their defence. Pique and Alba still are good in defence but they cannot perform on the same level their whole career.
• Emerson • Another defence line replenishment as Emerson would be challenging Alba for a spot on the wing-back spot and has shown great potential in his game during his time at Real Betis.
These are just some transfers that FC Barcelona has completed. They look to be much more active now. As soon as they reduce the wage bill they’ll move on announcing Lionel Messi’s extension as well as the registration of these young players. Other than that they need to let some players completely go.
• Miralem Pjanic • – Being an experienced midfielder maybe just wasn’t enough for him to fit into the Barca plans. Ronald Koeman does not count on him for next season and has shown his aversion to him in the 2020-21 season as well. Pjanic barely got the game time that he used to receive in Juventus and the board is looking to offload him while cutting down their wage bill as well.
• Sergi Roberto • – Another one of the players who is ageing and has been underperforming for seasons. With the club under massive rebuilding, Ronald Koeman’s plans do not have a place for him.
• Martin Braithwaite • –After a great performance in the Euro 2020, FC Barcelona intends to cash out on him as they have to open up space in the attacking positions for the new transfers. With the likes of Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay, Braithwaite’s chances of regular game time are very slim which would be a motivator for him to switch to a different club.
• Phillipe Coutinho • – FC Barcelona are highly interested in offloading Coutinho as he has not been fitting well into the Barcelona system. On top of that, they’ll have to pay £20 Million as a result of add-ons in the contract to Liverpool if he plays a total of 100 games. So they tend to avoid that expense completely in a situation like this.
With these rumoured transfers out, there are rumours for many more transfers that could help strengthen the Barcelona side.
RUMOURED TRANSFERS IN
• Aymeric Laporte • – Barcelona look to poach another Manchester city defender. Laporte is an experienced CB who has not been able to receive sufficient game time due to Ruben Dias and John Stones being the first choice players. He looks to get a move away and FC Barcelona has been rumoured to poach him this summer. A defender with his experience and ability could strengthen the defence line.
• Bernado Silva • The Manchester City winger could be involved in a move away due to irregular game time and here too FC Barcelona is the rumoured destination for him.
• Renato Sanchez • The Lille midfielder has been reportedly offered to FC Barcelona as they intend to cash out on him. Sanchez gave an amazing performance in the UEFA Euro 2020 as he was one of the few bright spots of the Portuguese team.
• Saul • He was heavily linked with Barcelona which involved a swap deal in which Griezmann would be seen returning to his former club. A deal of Saul + Cash was rumoured which would be facilitating the exchange. Saul has not been a regular starter in Diego Simeone’s side and expects much more game time. The deal eventually did not materialise as Griezmann looks to take a wage cut and fight for his spot in the Blaugrana colours with him just getting back into his goal-scoring in the second half of last season.
FC Barcelona is serious about their rebuilding process and is showing it immensely by bringing new players wisely and asking their players to take a wage cut to support the club in these hard times. If they play their cards right; Will they reclaim their status as the BEST CLUB IN THE WORLD?