Barcelona has transferred a further part of the television rights to the investment company Sixth Street. Last week, the club signed documents according to which the partners will provide her with € 400 million, and in return for 25 years they will receive 15% of TV rights. Previously, Blaugrana had already sold 10% to this fund for €207.5 million. The total is already a quarter. The President of the Catalan club Joan Laporta calls the deal “the activation of the second economic lever”. His goal is to strengthen the financial position of the club in order to get rid of the debts hanging over the organization.
However, in order to register new players, a third lever would also need to be activated, which would be the sale of 49% of the rights to Barça Studios (a company that creates creative products for the club). At the moment, the club needs about €100 million, and this amount must be received before the start of La Liga. According to the Spanish publication Cope, Barça may also need a “fourth lever” for the application of newcomers. That is, you have to sell something else to get money now. At the same time, the club continues to behave as if everything is fine.
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Laporta’s strategy is fraught with huge problems in the future
The club’s director of economic affairs, Edouard Romeu, said that Laporta is going to spend another € 200 million on transfers this summer in addition to the newcomers who have already joined the team (Robert Lewandowski, Rafinha, Andreas Christensen, Frank Kessier).
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The intentions of the president of Barça are as simple as possible – to benefit here and now. Although it would be worth worrying about the future prospects.
Former Manchester United defender
“Why is Barcelona still messing around with the Super League? Yes, that’s why! Desperate club with €1.4bn in debt is selling future revenue streams to spend money on players now in the hope it pays off! Risky for such a giant.”
It’s hard to disagree with Neville. Yes, it should be taken into account that Laporta is dealing with the “legacy” of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s predecessor, who miraculously escaped imprisonment for his machinations. Joan is not to be envied. He took over the club in a sorry state. However, Laporta’s current actions could lead to even worse problems. You can not thoughtlessly sell everything here and now. If in a couple of years TV rights soar in price (and for now they are growing in price), then part of the profit will not go to the treasury of Barcelona.
Barcelona do not sell anyone, although this should be a priority
Andres Christensen and Frank Kessier have joined Barcelona as free agents. Permissible situation. Bayern paid €45m for Robert Lewandowski, Leeds €59m for Rafinha. Not very good, but relatively acceptable. Still, the team needs some newcomers, even taking into account the deplorable financial situation. However, for the current situation, the fact that the amount of purchases is much higher than the amount of sales of players is completely unacceptable. It is especially embarrassing that the gap is likely to grow.
Frankie de Jong and Memphis Depay are two of the most obvious exit candidates. Barça seems to want to get rid of them, but so far it has not been possible. De Jong does not seem to want to move to Manchester United at all. The Chelsea option was also up in the air. The midfielder is not opposed to continuing the performance in Catalonia, despite a little resentment for the intention to sell him. According to AS, Xavi has already threatened the player with a reduction in playing time and demanded that he agree to cut his salary in half. The behavior of the club towards Frankie (and other players too) looks very ugly. Football players are asked to shrink, but have already spent more than € 100 million on newcomers.
Frankie de Jong
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Depay rejected Tottenham’s offer. The striker is not afraid of the fact that he will sit on the bench all season behind Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. According to Diario Sport, Memphis will agree to move to a top club that can compete for trophies. But for now, he remains at Barça.
Barcelona planned to get at least € 100 million for de Jong and Depay. It is likely that the intention will remain unfulfilled. Even if the players can be sold, then for a smaller amount. We will have to reduce the initially set price tag for Frankie (€ 80+ million) and Memphis (€ 20+ million). Other clubs are not ready to spend that kind of money on them, especially given the picky players. And in the case of de Jong, to begin with, you generally need to resolve the issue of debt to the midfielder. Barcelona owes him €20m: €16m salary delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, €4m bonuses. Because of this, the 25-year-old has gained leverage over his future and is blocking a transfer to Manchester United.
Former Manchester United defender
“De Jong should consider taking legal action against Barcelona and all the players should support him! For a club to spend a fortune on new players while not paying the full wages of those with contracts is immoral and a violation. FIFPro must do everything in its power to stop this bullying.”
Barca owes not only to de Jong, but to almost every player on the team. Even a total cut in salaries does not help. Ousmane Dembele extended his contract until 2024, reducing his “net” salary by 40%. The agreement provides for good bonuses, but they still need to be earned. Sergi Roberto has already cut his wages significantly, from €12 million to €5 million before taxes, with a one-year contract extension. And at the same time, Barça wants to sign new players.
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Who plans to get Barça
The priority target at the moment is Sevilla defender Jules Kunde. You will have to pay at least € 50 million for it, plus bonuses. Barça outbid Chelsea’s offer, as they had earlier for Rafinha. Because of this, the London club held a grudge. Now the Catalans are unlikely to agree with Chelsea on the transfer of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso. Maybe it’s for the best. Initially, it was not clear why the team needed these older players, given Xavi’s intention to trust the youth more. However, the same Chelsea will no longer go towards Barca according to de Jong.
Photo: Fran Santiago/Getty Images
Barça have already found an alternative to Azpilicuete and Alonso. The club wants to sign Xavi Galan (Celta), Pau Torres (Villarreal) and Iñigo Martinez (Athletic). They ask for €18 million for the first one, €40-50 million for the second one, €50 million for the third one. So far, Barça is ready to pay only for Torres, and in negotiations on Galan and Martinez, they are trying to bring down the price. At the same time, the team has Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Ronald Araujo. Therefore, the possible transfer of 31-year-old Martinez raises questions.
In total, Barca is going to spend € 100 million on defense. The same amount should remain according to the results of Laporta’s “second lever”. The Catalans are happy to trade them for Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva. This player really likes Xavi, who, after working in Qatar, seemed to have forgotten about the word “limit” during the costs. Still, Silva is too big a deal for Barça. First you need to reset de Jong, which can not be done.
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What should the club do?
Barça’s current strategy could once again lead to financial ruin. Even if Barca win the Champions League, the prize money won’t cover the club’s transfer costs. And in La Liga, the task of getting around Real Madrid looks problematic. Ideally, the club should strike a balance between spending on new players and selling their own. There was an option to follow the path of Arsenal – to invest in young people, for several years consciously refusing to fight for big trophies, to put the balance of payments in order. And not to sell TV rights – in the future, this can be greatly regretted. But Laporta wants to win here and now, so the club needs to deal with player sales as soon as possible. Otherwise, you can destroy your own future and eventually sell the club to private investors.