A soccer club without money that buys whoever it wants. Everyone is shocked by the Barça transfers
They said Barcelona was on the verge of bankruptcy. They were saying that Barcelona can’t sign Holand, Lewandowski and other stars. Who are these “they”? Numerous pessimistic insiders who stomped on the sparks of fan hope with their heavy boots in the spring, when rumors about the arrival of this or that player at Camp Nou emerged. And then there are the officials, including La Liga president Javier Tebas, who as recently as a month and a half ago was adamant:
“Barcelona knows what it has to do. The club is familiar with our economic control rules and knows perfectly the situation it is in. The rules are there to prevent clubs from getting into serious financial problems. They know what they have to do: sell and increase revenue. That’s what they need to do. Now Barcelona cannot sign Lewandowski.
It turns out that Barcelona have done the “impossible” by signing Robert and four other players? No one expected the Catalans to be so quick on the transfer market.
Barcelona have already spent 100+ million euros on five newcomers this summer
They paid 45 million euros for Lewandowski, but Robert is not Barcelona’s most expensive newcomer this summer. Leeds’ Rafinha cost 58m, and the Brazilian was snatched from under Chelsea’s nose where Thomas Tuchel wanted him. The other three newcomers came as free agents, but you understand there are no free transfers at this level: Frank Kessier and Andreas Christensen got a raise, and Barça took on salary guarantees.
Of course, it’s not crazy spending like under Josep Bartomeu, when Coutinho, Griezmann and Dembele were showered with gold, but it is a very sensitive burden on the budget of a club that has not yet fully recovered financially. By the way, Ousmane Dembele is the fifth newcomer to Barcelona in the current transfer window, even if at first glance it does not seem obvious. But in fact, the Frenchman’s previous contract expired on June 30, and he signed a new one on July 14. Dembele has been a free agent for two weeks, and will register him as a new player.
The Catalans are not going to stop
The most surprising thing is that Barcelona’s transfer campaign is not over. The Catalans are negotiating with Sevilla for Jules Kunda, are going to lure Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso from Chelsea, and also have sights on Bernardo Silva from Manchester City. The arrival of the Portuguese is associated with objective and unlikely to be overcome by difficulties, but the defenders at the Camp Nou will appear, but not necessarily all at once.
The deals for Kunda, Azpilicueta and Alonso are linked by an invisible thread, as the French center-back from Sevilla is a key target for Chelsea, and if Barça crosses for the Blues again, London promise to make the transition of the two Spanish defenders to the Blaugranas as difficult as possible. Most likely, Joan Laporta will have to agree to some kind of compromise. Well, or take Kunde and then act according to the circumstances.
Selling is inevitable, although Barcelona are carefully postponing it
The new Barcelona team led by Joan Laporta has improved the financial climate around the club: selling the rights to the stadium naming rights has brought good money into the coffers, and Barça have also parted with 25% of their television rights and 50% of their merchandise business to get around 330m euros at once, which made the current transfers possible.
However, the debt of 1.2 billion euros is still there, and no one cancelled other restrictions. For example, it would be problematic to fit the current squad under the current salary cap in La Liga, although Barça have introduced strict internal control over payments to players, even dividing them into appropriate categories.
But there is still a need for sales, and the club needs a big deal, read – the sale of Franky de Jong. Memphis Depay will also leave, and there may be some unexpected losses which, after signing so many newcomers, according to the bosses’ idea, should not be perceived too painfully. In particular, the talented Gavi, whose contract expires in 2023 and whose entourage does not agree to the terms offered by Barça, could leave.
Barcelona goes all in
Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann best described what’s going on:
It’s the only club that has no money, but buys any player they want. I don’t know how they do it. It’s kind of weird and a little crazy.
What Barcelona is doing is really weird and crazy. A lot of people think that a club with a debt of 1.2 billion euros should not behave so recklessly. By signing star newcomers, is Barcelona getting closer to its salvation or its collapse? Joan Laporta’s strategy is clear; he has followed the path of many gamblers, who raise the stakes when they start to lose.
Barça had two obvious ways to overcome the financial crisis that work even on a domestic level: if you have money problems, you either need to spend less or earn more. The first way is slower but more reliable, the second is conventionally fast but insecure. Signing newcomers is not a sign of Barcelona’s recovery, Lewandowski and Co. are the means by which Laporta wants to save the club.
Betting on sports performance and attracting new sponsors through wins and celebrities in the lineup. “Barça paid for that chance with part of the television rights and half of the paraphernalia business. A bold move, even desperate. It might work, and then we’ll call Laporta a genius. But the failure of Xavi’s team or a new world crisis could finish off Barça, which is juggling fireballs while standing on a thin thread above the abyss.