Four seasons ago, four months after Barcelona’s historic 6-1 comeback in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, PSG took revenge by seizing the engineer of the annihilation, triggering Neymar’s €222 million buyout clause and following it up with a mouth-watering €180 million deal for Kylian Mbappé from Monaco. It would seem like science fiction to think that, four years removed from the world-record sale of Neymar, Barcelona would not have enough money to register their new signings or renew the contract of the greatest player in the club’s history effectively making him a free agent and creating a vacuum that would be more than impossible to fill in the near future.
Barcelona’s Transfer Outlook
The Catalans have completed deals to sign Memphis Depay, Sergio Agüero and Eric García, all on free transfers, whilst also triggering their €9 million buyback option to sign Emerson Royal from Real Betis, but they have been unable to register any of their new signings in their 2021/22 squad due to La Liga’s salary cap rules. UnAs it is, Barcelona have been unable to make savings of over €200 million, hence unable to renew the contract of Lionel Messi, currently a free agent for the first time in his professional career, although the Argentine was reportedly eager to reject other interested clubs and sign a two-year contract on a heavily reduced wages agreement.
La Liga’s Financial Caps
Since 2013, La Liga has administered a system of economic control to monitor the finances of all 42 clubs in Spain’s top two divisions and establish a squad cost limit for each season. This enforces how much money each club can spend on players in their first team as well as the youth teams, in addition to the coaching staff and head physio. Each club can decide how to divide the spending between transfer fees and wages, but they must not exceed the limit.
The squad expenditure limit is based on financial data that each club must submit prior to the summer transfer window, including expected revenue from the upcoming season, profits and losses from previous years, overhead costs, non-player contracts, current savings, any existing debt repayments, investments and sources of external financing. It’s why, two years after having to deal with a salary limit of €671 million, Barcelona are now operating around a limit of €348 million. While the club finished the previous season surpassing the limit, Javier Tebas, the president of Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (LFP), has made it clear that they will not enjoy the same privilege in the new season.
As such, it means that Barcelona are more desperate than ever before to slash their wage bill and create revenue via player sales. Jean-Clair Todibo has been sold to Nice for an initial fee of €8.5 million, whilst Konrad de la Fuente has also packed his bags to the Région Sud, joining Marseille for a fee of €3 million. Junior Firpo has joined Leeds United for a fee of €15 million plus add-ons, Francisco Trincão has joined Wolves on loan with an option to buy for £25 million, whilst Carles Aleñá has joined Getafe for €5 million, with Barcelona retaining a resale clause of 50%. Ilaix Moriba has been demoted to the Barcelona B team after rejecting Barcelona’s contract renewal offer, and with his deal set to expire in 2022, he could be sold for a hefty profit this summer. Two years after joining from Palmeiras for €7 million + €3 million in add-ons, Matheus Fernandes has been released from his contract, and he intends to sue Barcelona for unjust dismissal. Now the most astonishing thing at Barcelona is the total figure of some players who have been performing to expectations yet drawing mammoth salaries not forgetting that they were acquired quite expensively.
Here are past season figures for some of the players who earn/earned ridiculous wages at Barca.
|2020-21 (Contract Details)|
|Players||Weekly Wage||Base Salary||Market Value||Age||Position||Contract|
|Marc-André ter Stegen||£100,000||£4.8 million||£50 million||28||GK||2022|
|Neto||£65,000||£3.12 million||£35 million||31||GK||2023|
|Iñaki Peña||£25,000||£1.5 million||£2.5 million||21||GK||2021|
|Gerard Piqué||£210,000||£10.5 million||£15 million||33||DEF||2022|
|Clément Lenglet||£70,000||£3.12 million||£40 million||25||DEF||2023|
|Jordi Alba||£150,000||£7.2 million||£10 million||31||DEF||2024|
|Samuel Umtiti||£208,000||£10 million||£25 million||26||DEF||2023|
|Júnior Firpo||£85,000||£4 million||£15 million||24||DEF||2024|
|Ronald Araújo||£50,000||£2.4 million||£7.5 million||21||DEF||2023|
|Matheus Fernandes (new signing)||£85,000||£4 million||£5 million||22||MID||2025|
|Oriol Busquets||£45,000||£2.5 million||£3.5 million||21||MID||2023|
|Sergio Busquets||£258,000||£12.4 million||£10 million||32||MID||2023|
|Carles Aleñá||£85,000||£4 million||£10 million||22||MID||2022|
|Miralem Pjanic (new signing)||£210,000||£10.5 million||£40 million||30||MID||2024|
|Rafinha||£150,000||£7.2 million||£15 million||27||MID||2021|
|Philippe Coutinho||£146,000||£7 million||£50 million||28||MID||2023|
|Sergi Roberto||£170,000||£8.16 million||£38 million||28||MID||2022|
|Frenkie de Jong||£354,000||£17 million||£40 million||23||MID||2024|
|Ricard Puig||£25,000||£1.5 million||£10 million||21||MID||2021|
|Antoine Griezmann||£345,000||£16.6 million||£75 million||29||CF||2024|
|Lionel Messi||£584,000||£28 million||£130 million||33||CF||2021|
|Ousmane Dembélé||£210,000||£10 million||£65 million||23||CF||2022|
|Francisco Trincão (new signing)||£100,000||£4.8 million||£50 million||20||CF||2025|
|Ansu Fati||£45,000||£2.16 million||£35 million||17||CF||2022|
|Arnau Urena Tenas||£15,000||£720,000||£1 million||19||GK||2023|
|Sergiño Dest (new signing)||£41,000||£2 million||£10 million||19||DEF||2025|
|Santiago Ramos Rodríguez||£25,000||£1.5 million||£2.5 million||18||DEF||2022|
|Jean-Clair Todibo||£15,000||£720,000||£7 million||20||MID||2023|
|Pedro González (new signing)||£15,000||£720,000||£2.5 million||17||MID||2022|
|Konrad De La Fuente||£25,000||£1.5 million||£2.5 million||19||CF||2023|
|Martin Braithwaite||£85,000||£4 million||£10 million||19||CF||2024|
|Club Wage Bill||(£196 million) not including signing fees and contract bonus awards of players|
It is worthwhile taking note that some players have since been released and some players acquired though not registered hence these figures might not be 100% accurate. Memphis Depay, Sergio Agüero and Eric García are new additions to the team and these will definitely draw huge wages as well.
In other unconfirmed news, word is out that Sergio Aguero is already uncomfortable, two months into his contract, and various reasons have been given, one being that he has been greatly disappointed by events leading to Messi’s exit and probably anticipating a turbulent future.