BARCELONA – Barcelona for the 2021-22 season will begin to take shape from the meeting that Joan Laporta and Ronald Koeman must hold this week.
After the first contact between the new president and the Dutch coach during the trip to Paris, Koeman announced on Saturday his intention to meet with the manager taking advantage of the League break to start planning the sporting future of his squad and in This meeting, sources from the entity acknowledged to ESPN Deportes, will begin to clear the future of several Barça footballers.
The new directive begins to know the financial reality of the club after the transfer of powers in which the manager transferred all kinds of documentation confirming the delicate economic situation and the difficulty in reinforcing the first team squad, a scenario not broadly unknown by the coach and that motivates that the intention to go to the transfer market is inevitably conditioned by a reduction in the salary mass of the first team that must go through the departure of several players.
“The salary mass is close to 90 percent of the club’s budget, UEFA recommends reducing it below 70 and the ideal would be for it to be 50 percent,” announced publicly Carles Tusquets, already former president of the Management Board, in a clear notice of the difficulties that the new Barça leadership will face in carrying out its purposes. And that from the outset it will force to negotiate the losses that Koeman can consider, and accept.
Barça needs both money for transfers and savings in salaries and the names of Coutinho, Umtiti, Neto, Junior Firpo, Braithwaite and Pjanic are indisputably on stage … Despite the fact that the signing of some of them are not amortized . The maxim of ‘Let out before entering’ is more evident than ever and if the cases of Neto or Junior Firpo, willing to negotiate a transfer, it is understood less problematic, it does not happen that way with Coutinho, Umtiti and Pjanic. With the last two mainly.
With a transfer cost of 145 million in January 2018, still almost 60 to be amortized and more than 40 in salary (gross) for the two remaining seasons of his contract, the case of Coutinho, today injured, does not cause doubt among the leaders .
As happened in 2003 with Riquelme, the Brazilian has not adapted to Barcelona and it is considered important to find him a way out, considering that he has a market in the Premier, adjusting the numbers to the maximum, risking a minimal accounting loss if he could be traded for less than those 60 million with the obvious savings that it would mean for his salary.
Samuel Umtiti is fully amortized in terms of the signing (25 million euros were paid for him to Olympique Lyon in the summer of 2016) but the main problem is represented by his high profile, above 15 million euros per year, and the two seasons remaining on his contract. Saving those 30 million total salaries is considered transcendental, so a low-cost transfer is the ideal scenario … As long as the player gave his approval with a club that kept him, or was close to, the emoluments he has in the Barcelona.
It is less easy to find a way out for Martin Braithwaite, under contract until 2024, with a pending amortization at the end of this season of about 10 million euros and as unfavorable to accepting his departure as difficult to place in a transfer that does not cause accounting losses.
PJANIC … AND GRIEZMANN
As much or more difficult is the case of Miralem Pjanic, who without entering into the coach’s plans still has three seasons of contract, 45 million euros to amortize and a transfer that is almost impossible to agree on. The departure of the Bosnian midfielder could be facilitated through a transfer in the image and likeness of what happened with Coutinho last year, with the destination club taking over a salary close to 9 million euros.
And no less simple is the situation of Antoine Griezmann, who does not consider a way out, whose figure is so recognized and questioned in equal parts in the club and whose future ventures will be a matter of debate until the end of the season. For the former Atlético player there will be about 70 million euros of transfer amortization, but if that would not be an unattainable figure for some clubs that wanted him, adding the almost 30 that it costs in gross salary annually make the operation utopian. Or almost.
RENEWAL OR SALE
Being as Lionel Messi is the philosopher’s stone of the project, trusting Laporta to start his approval for the renewal by being together with Òscar Mingueza (with whom he is negotiating) the only player of the first team that ends his contract this season, the sports plot must enter to assess the future of the three players who finish it in 2022. The three, (Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembélé and Ilaix Moriba) in principle, enter into the club’s plans (the latter is indisputable) but while with Sergi Roberto he trusts In a pact without many setbacks, with Dembélé the situation is not clear at all.
Enjoying his best moment since he arrived at Barça, the relationship between Dembélé and the club has not been idyllic in recent years and Laporta must face a renovation in which the economic issue will have a transcendental weight. With a salary of around 20 million euros, the club considers a reduction necessary that it does not know to what extent the player will accept, so if an agreement is not reached, the door to a transfer would not be closed, especially considering that Due to his youth and quality, Dembélé could mean a good economic injection, despite the risk involved in letting him go.
SIGNINGS ON HOLD
With all those conditions that Laporta’s board of directors has on the table and are taken into account by Koeman, the signings that Barcelona can carry out would be, from the outset, on hold. Eric García, Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum, Emerson and Erling Haaland are the names that are, with greater or lesser importance, on the table and with whom a decision must be made. Haaland, it is not a secret, it is the most coveted name and the most difficult to carry out. His arrival would mean an investment of more than 120 million euros (not counting salary) and to specify it should have the unavoidable counterpart of emptying lockers in the changing room, in addition to the extremely difficult management.
However, and being the number one objective on the list, understanding the need to incorporate a striker with a goal, Barcelona works with other options, such as the Swedish Aleksander Isak, from Real Sociedad, whose signing would not venture either single, or the veteran Sergio Agüero, who ending his contract with Manchester City was already offered to Laporta during the elections but does not enjoy unanimity at the Camp Nou.
Depay and Wijnaldum, who would arrive with the release letter, have the express favor of Ronald Koeman but while that of the Olympique Lyon striker remains feasible, there is not so much security with the Liverpool midfielder at all. From Barcelona on Sunday, information that pointed to an agreement between the club and the player’s representative was denied and at the Camp Nou his signing arouses enough reservations, understanding that it would cut the growth of the youth of the quarry, beyond Ilaix Moriba.
With Emerson the situation is not so defined. Barça, who bought him half with Betis in 2019 for 12 million euros, has the option of taking over all of his rights for 6 million at the end of this season but has not decided if that purchase would be to incorporate the Brazilian side to the squad or for a later transfer for a higher figure, knowing the interest it arouses in Italian football.
As for Eric García, having taken for granted an agreement for his signing at no cost at the end of this season from Manchester City, Barça maintains absolute silence despite the fact that this week there was speculation about a departure from the positions with their representatives