What Do Now??: Barcelona 2021-2022

Zososoxfan

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One of my favorite quotes ever (IASIP - The Gang Beats Boggs) where a completely tanked Charlie somehow manages to crank a homerun in a meaningless competition and then doesn't know what to do with himself is a pretty good comp for where Barca now finds itself.

After a completely batshit season in which the Barca Board was ousted, club legend Koeman guided Barca out of the darkness and put together a respectable season considering the circumstances. He unearthed some gems and played some real youth in Pedri, Mingueza, Dest, Ilaix, Araujo, and Trincao. He also showed some tactical nous by switching to a 3-4-2-1 with Dembele as the striker that led to an excellent run of form. That's balanced with the horribad ending to the season with some dubious decisions, and his overextended vendetta against Puig. All that said, and the manager situation is still very far and away the second or third biggest story heading into the summer.

The first as usual, is Messi's rendition of 'Should I Stay or Should I Go'. On the one hand--club legend, a big reason why much of the fanbase still tunes in, and a force in attack. On the other, one of the hardest players to build around, defensively absolved of responsibility, and until now ungodly expensive. While I love Messi unconditionally, part of me would be OK with him going to a club in a better position to make the most out of his last years and letting the rebuild begin in earnest. Aguero's acquisition leads me to believe that he's likely coming back, but if he doesn't like the way things develop he will leave.

All of that said and from a purely competitive perspective, the biggest issue at the club remains its shambolic finances. Barto and Co. really did a number on the club and it seems like the plan for acquisitions this summer is buying low-cost talent on free transfers and perhaps some young promising players. On the other side of the ledger, Laporta is saying that just about everyone is for sale and likely at drastically reduced prices.

Already this summer Aguero and Eric Garcia have come into the fold. Aguero is a nice piece to have come off the bench but much like Luisito in his last couple of years, he should not be counted on as the starter but rather as a sub late in games and perhaps a starter late in the season to make a final push. Garcia seems like a promising player and is a welcome addition to a defensive corps that has some nice pieces in Araujo, Mingueza, Lenglet, and Dest but still needs more competition since the only other viable players are Pique and Alba. I have to think Umtiti and Firpo are goners ($5-10M each). Depay is also likely to sign soon and should be the starting CF--a big and necessary upgrade to a side that were able to paper over the lack of a point at the tip of the spear at times but would be helped significantly by having that option. Gini Wijnaldum was heavily linked to Barca over the past month, but that's seemed to die down. Some other big name free transfers include Calhanoglu (AC Milan), Emerson Royal (Betis), Borre (River), and Boateng (Bayern). Emerson has some complicated ownership structure whereby Barca currently own 50% of his rights and the option to buy an addition 30%. Unclear whether they will try and acquire him to actually play or just try and cash in to help the ledger.

Other players likely on the block include Griezmann ($40-50M), Dembele ($35-40M), Coutinho ($25-30M), Pjanic ($20-25M), and Roberto ($10-15M). Those transfer values in parentheses are just what I think Barca might reasonably expect to be offered and as such represent their value in the current depressed market. Still, if Barca can salvage $100M out of their collective transfers while keeping 1-2 that would be a huge success. There's just too much bloat at the club right now and reinvesting that into younger players is the right thing to do. Again, that just doesn't jive with Messi's career, but Messi released some statements last year that show he might be OK being part of a transition.
 
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bosox4283

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Really good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

This year was the first time since 2006-8 that Barca went more than two years without winning the league, and it has been six years since Barca won the Champions League.

With this context, I wonder: what is Barcelona trying to accomplish? Are the team's objectives to win La Liga and the Champions League each year? Is the team focused on reducing debt? Is the top priority to find a way to update and upgrade Camp Nou? Is the unspoken goal to plan for the post-Messi future?
 

Zososoxfan

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Really good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

This year was the first time since 2006-8 that Barca went more than two years without winning the league, and it has been six years since Barca won the Champions League.

With this context, I wonder: what is Barcelona trying to accomplish? Are the team's objectives to win La Liga and the Champions League each year? Is the team focused on reducing debt? Is the top priority to find a way to update and upgrade Camp Nou? Is the unspoken goal to plan for the post-Messi future?
All valid questions, although likely dealt with in order of immediate importance. In other words, the club's priority out of necessity has to be reestablishing financial stability. That is helped in large part by retaining Messi, who still drives a ton of eyeballs, shirt sales, and contributes to the footballing side every now again too! For those reasons, I also think qualifying and going deep in UCL remains a high priority (i.e. it brings in real money). The Camp Nou project has to go on the backburner for a bit, except to the extent it represents a real potential liability (actual safety issues) or short term gains (unlikely). I don't think positioning for the post-Messi future happens in a vacuum so it doesn't really fit on here. Like I said in the OP, Messi basically came out last year and made it clear that he's OK staying even if the club can't surround him with Haaland and players of his ilk right now. He wants to see progress and wants to a see a return to the club that existed when he was a teenager breaking into the first team.
 

Zososoxfan

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Barca officially exercised their option on Emerson Royal. Unclear if they intend to keep or sell. With Dest already in the fold, it's either healthy competition or a player that's wanted all over Europe.
 

teddykgb

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Please take good care of Sergio, if his knee can improve he will still be a gem. He hasn’t looked the part at all this year and he never looks right for 3-4 matches when he’s playing sporadically but with a run of games he will score.

Eric Garcia on the other hand … that seems more PR to me. I’d be shocked if he is capable of playing for a competitive Barca. He’s slow and small and looked outright terrible most of the times he played. Football people seem to love him but I do not see it at all when he plays. At the minimum I’d say he’s not ready and don’t think he fixes any short term problems. He works very hard so I wouldn’tnecessarily bet against him but I think he desperately needs a loan to a team which can afford for him to learn how to play as a smaller man at CB
 

Zososoxfan

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Please take good care of Sergio, if his knee can improve he will still be a gem. He hasn’t looked the part at all this year and he never looks right for 3-4 matches when he’s playing sporadically but with a run of games he will score.

Eric Garcia on the other hand … that seems more PR to me. I’d be shocked if he is capable of playing for a competitive Barca. He’s slow and small and looked outright terrible most of the times he played. Football people seem to love him but I do not see it at all when he plays. At the minimum I’d say he’s not ready and don’t think he fixes any short term problems. He works very hard so I wouldn’tnecessarily bet against him but I think he desperately needs a loan to a team which can afford for him to learn how to play as a smaller man at CB
If Aguero is backing up Depay, I like his chances of flourishing here. If he's the nominal starter, it's not going to go well for club or player. I'll take your word on Eric Garcia. Like I mentioned above, he's got a lot of other CBs to pass to break into the XI, even as a rotation option, but if he can play on the left that should get him some opportunities.
 

teddykgb

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If Aguero is backing up Depay, I like his chances of flourishing here. If he's the nominal starter, it's not going to go well for club or player. I'll take your word on Eric Garcia. Like I mentioned above, he's got a lot of other CBs to pass to break into the XI, even as a rotation option, but if he can play on the left that should get him some opportunities.
The problem traditionally has been that Aguero never looks good without a run of matches. He’s been injured a lot over the years and every time he came back he was just awful for 3 or 4 matches like he was calibrating his systems or something and then he’d just hit another level and not look back. He’s never had the reputation of a great trainer. I hope he can find a way to become a lethal super sub but it will take some adjustment from him. He’s a really good guy by all accounts though and not a problem at all, it’s just a matter of whether he can find a way to be sharp even if he isn’t getting consistent minutes
 

Zososoxfan

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The problem traditionally has been that Aguero never looks good without a run of matches. He’s been injured a lot over the years and every time he came back he was just awful for 3 or 4 matches like he was calibrating his systems or something and then he’d just hit another level and not look back. He’s never had the reputation of a great trainer. I hope he can find a way to become a lethal super sub but it will take some adjustment from him. He’s a really good guy by all accounts though and not a problem at all, it’s just a matter of whether he can find a way to be sharp even if he isn’t getting consistent minutes
He can still get consistent minutes, but just in the 30 minute increments instead of 90. The good thing about Sergio's game is he doesn't need a lot of touches. He's a finisher in and around the box and if he gets used to the shorter appearances it could really extend his career.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The Athletic has a big article laying out the whole mess at Barcelona. Barring some kind of relaxation of the financial fair play rules by La Liga, which seems unlikely, I don't see a good way out of the situation. To register any new players, they have to reduce wages by like 200m euros per year! Even if they let Messi walk way, they would still have more cutting to do.

It seems like a Gordian knot. They will never dig out from the financial difficulties just by getting rid of unwanted players, the only way to make real headway is to sell players that are important to their on-field competitiveness. But the only way to keep Messi was to make him guarantees about the club's plans for being able to compete for the Champions League. But if they just let Messi walk then their commercial revenue is sure to suffer and Champions League qualification might even come into doubt, and associated decreases in revenue over the next couple years would make it that much harder to dig out of the mess in the medium-to-long-term.

So what's the solution? I really have no clue but from what I can see the Barca board don't either, other than blindly hoping that either La Liga decides to give them a a very unfair break or that other clubs solve their problems by taking players on huge wages like Umtiti, Coutinho, and Griezmann off their hands (and their wage book).

I wonder whether the agents for Memphis and Aguero understood all this when they signed contracts. As it stands, they're not going to be registered to play next year.
 
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Zososoxfan

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The Athletic has a big article laying out the whole mess at Barcelona. Barring some kind of relaxation of the financial fair play rules by La Liga, which seems unlikely, I don't see a good way out of the situation. To register any new players, they have to reduce wages by like 200m euros per year! Even if they let Messi walk way, they would still have more cutting to do.

It seems like a Gordian knot. They will never dig out from the financial difficulties just by getting rid of unwanted players, the only way to make real headway is to sell players that are important to their on-field competitiveness. But the only way to keep Messi was to make him guarantees about the club's plans for being able to compete for the Champions League. But if they just let Messi walk then their commercial revenue is sure to suffer and Champions League qualification might even come into doubt, and associated decreases in revenue over the next couple years would make it that much harder to dig out of the mess in the medium-to-long-term.

So what's the solution? I really have no clue but from what I can see the Barca board don't either, other than blindly hoping that either La Liga decides to give them a a very unfair break or that other clubs solve their problems by taking players on huge wages like Umtiti, Coutinho, and Griezmann off their hands (and their wage book).

I wonder whether the agents for Memphis and Aguero understood all this when they signed contracts. As it stands, they're not going to be registered to play next year.
My dear friend, you must be new to Spanish football and the RFEF. The association will take a pound of flesh, but they're not dumb. They're about to start a new TV deal in the U.S. with ESPN--they want Messi in Spain as much as Barca. Look no farther than the Braithwaite acquisition to see how quickly and easily the rules are bent in favor of the big 2 (N.B. Atleti is certainly as competitive as Barca and Real at the moment and Sevilla deserve a ton of praise and recognition for their consistency, but I don't think the rule bending applies outside the big 2).
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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My dear friend, you must be new to Spanish football and the RFEF. The association will take a pound of flesh, but they're not dumb. They're about to start a new TV deal in the U.S. with ESPN--they want Messi in Spain as much as Barca. Look no farther than the Braithwaite acquisition to see how quickly and easily the rules are bent in favor of the big 2 (N.B. Atleti is certainly as competitive as Barca and Real at the moment and Sevilla deserve a ton of praise and recognition for their consistency, but I don't think the rule bending applies outside the big 2).
I'm familiar with the history of favoritism toward the Big Two from La Liga as well as the Spanish government but if you look at the statements coming from Tebas, its not clear that this is how its going to play out.

“Barca are currently exceeding their salary cap,” Tebas said recently. “I hope they can include Messi’s wages, but to do so, they will have to cut somewhere else. We cannot make one rule for Messi, another for Haaland…”

He also pointed out that La Liga has survived the losses of Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years without hurting its sponsorship or broadcasting deals. A new eight-year deal with ESPN was signed just last May when everyone knew that Messi, 34, may or may not be staying.
 

Zososoxfan

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I'm familiar with the history of favoritism toward the Big Two from La Liga as well as the Spanish government but if you look at the statements coming from Tebas, its not clear that this is how its going to play out.
I guess I just don't see how this doesn't get resolved in Barca's favor. Maaaaaaybe they sell some useful players at a discount (Griezmann, MATS, Lenglet, etc.), but I think the club would rather let Messi go than fire sale Pedri, Fati, or FDJ. I think those 3 are the last ones to go.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I guess I just don't see how this doesn't get resolved in Barca's favor. Maaaaaaybe they sell some useful players at a discount (Griezmann, MATS, Lenglet, etc.), but I think the club would rather let Messi go than fire sale Pedri, Fati, or FDJ. I think those 3 are the last ones to go.
Yeah, I don't see them selling Pedri or Fati under any circumstance.

FDJ doesn't seem nearly as central to the long term project, doesn't have the same cachet as an academy player, and he is on something ludicrous like 400k per week so I could see them being tempted if a decent offer came. But I'm not even sure that many clubs out there would want to both pay a big transfer fee and take on his wages at this point.

I don't know what they will do. Maybe Tebas gives them some kind of partial reprieve but probably not until a significant amount of pain has been absorbed. But its not clear to me exactly how that medicine gets taken in practice while keeping Messi. I think they could sell MATS and Lenglet, although probably not for big fees given how difficult the Covid market is right now. But is there a club in the world that would even take Griezmann on a free - let alone pay a transfer fee - and pay his 890k euro per week wage? That is about equal to the top three earners at Man City combined. Same for Umtiti, Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, etc. They look really hard to move given the wages and, for a few of them, the injury issues.
 

67YAZ

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I'm not 100% sure, but it looks like La Liga is also negotiating their domestic broadcast rights, which expire with Canal+ end of next season. For all the bluster of not being hurt by losing Neymar & Ronaldo, also losing Messi and Ramos means the losses start piling up. At this point, the biggest Spanish stars playing in La Liga are Busquets, Koke, Pique, and Jordi Alba? No disrespect to those guys who have each had long world class careers, but La Liga is in transition right now and not in the strongest position to cut a deal.

I still think this ends with Barca taking on Middle Eastern sovereign wealth investment. Yeah yeah, it might run counter to "mes que un club", but it will get spun similar to the way advertising was introduced to the jersey with UNICEF.
 

coremiller

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The Athletic has a big article laying out the whole mess at Barcelona. Barring some kind of relaxation of the financial fair play rules by La Liga, which seems unlikely, I don't see a good way out of the situation. To register any new players, they have to reduce wages by like 200m euros per year! Even if they let Messi walk way, they would still have more cutting to do.

It seems like a Gordian knot. They will never dig out from the financial difficulties just by getting rid of unwanted players, the only way to make real headway is to sell players that are important to their on-field competitiveness. But the only way to keep Messi was to make him guarantees about the club's plans for being able to compete for the Champions League. But if they just let Messi walk then their commercial revenue is sure to suffer and Champions League qualification might even come into doubt, and associated decreases in revenue over the next couple years would make it that much harder to dig out of the mess in the medium-to-long-term.

So what's the solution? I really have no clue but from what I can see the Barca board don't either, other than blindly hoping that either La Liga decides to give them a a very unfair break or that other clubs solve their problems by taking players on huge wages like Umtiti, Coutinho, and Griezmann off their hands (and their wage book).

I wonder whether the agents for Memphis and Aguero understood all this when they signed contracts. As it stands, they're not going to be registered to play next year.
This is very interesting, but I don't understand how the Spanish salary cap system works. How can Barca's cap go from 671m to 160m in two years? No club could cope with that kind of reduction.
 

Gunfighter 09

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I don't know what they will do. Maybe Tebas gives them some kind of partial reprieve but probably not until a significant amount of pain has been absorbed. But its not clear to me exactly how that medicine gets taken in practice while keeping Messi. I think they could sell MATS and Lenglet, although probably not for big fees given how difficult the Covid market is right now. But is there a club in the world that would even take Griezmann on a free - let alone pay a transfer fee - and pay his 890k euro per week wage? That is about equal to the top three earners at Man City combined. Same for Umtiti, Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, etc. They look really hard to move given the wages and, for a few of them, the injury issues.
Forgetting for a second that the real answer in big time European Soccer when one of these situations arrises is always corruption that allows the biggest clubs to do what they want....The answer is NBA salary dump style loans or sales where they give someone a young prospect (please be Dest if it is a team I like) in order to get them to take an Umtiti or Cutinho off their hands.


But that won't happen because Barca, City etc. live in the world where they owe the bank a billion dollars and therefore the bank is fucked unless they get what they want.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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This is very interesting, but I don't understand how the Spanish salary cap system works. How can Barca's cap go from 671m to 160m in two years? No club could cope with that kind of reduction.
I don't quite understand that either and suspect that the numbers quoted might not be accurate or some other information is missing that gives more context.
 

Zososoxfan

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The only way I can personally think of for Barca to try and undo the damage of the Barto era is to agree to pay some of the astronomical wages and still take a bath on any kind of transfer fee. You see this concept with some loan deals, like the Coutinho-Bayern one, but with the player contracts and money tight due to COVID I think Barca would have to still pay some of the wages. This ultimately comes down to the details of the league wage restrictions--i.e. whether a loan or a transfer provides the necessary relief to move on.
 

veritas

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I don't quite understand that either and suspect that the numbers quoted might not be accurate or some other information is missing that gives more context.
They basically did this to themselves by racking up an enormous amount of debt. The cap was created to prevent teams from doing a Leeds, and Barca decided to be wildly irresponsible anyway
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Forgetting for a second that the real answer in big time European Soccer when one of these situations arrises is always corruption that allows the biggest clubs to do what they want....The answer is NBA salary dump style loans or sales where they give someone a young prospect (please be Dest if it is a team I like) in order to get them to take an Umtiti or Cutinho off their hands.


But that won't happen because Barca, City etc. live in the world where they owe the bank a billion dollars and therefore the bank is fucked unless they get what they want.
This is becoming quite common in all NA sports .. trading bad contracts to teams with no salary cap issues and sweetening it with draft picks or young players.

So, in theory Barca could offer Coutinho back to Liverpool for a paltry transfer fee (20m) and throw in Pedri to make it happen.

Pool would do that in a heartbeat … despite paying Coutinho 200 a week.
 

Zososoxfan

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Depay agreed to a 30% salary reduction. Pretty shitty that the new guy who's probably the most important offseason acquisition had to go first, when the old guard is really who needs to go on a diet. Looking directly at you Roberto, Griezmann, Alba, Busi, Pique, etc.
 

Kliq

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It's not the players fault the club was willing to spend recklessly without any thought of consequence. Put me in the boat of "some corrupt solution will be found where nobody learns their lesson."
 

teddykgb

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It's not the players fault the club was willing to spend recklessly without any thought of consequence. Put me in the boat of "some corrupt solution will be found where nobody learns their lesson."
Yes it’s very strange how Barca seems to have convinced some of their fans that the players are the problem here. They agreed to contracts and it is not their fault Barca were run so poorly . Especially after how the club treated Messi when he sent his burofax it should be crystal clear to those players that Barca will screw them over for their own benefit
 

Zososoxfan

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I think it's a bit more nuanced than players vs. management because of the transition from Barto to Laporta. Barto harmed this club deeply. One of the main ways he did this was by giving outlandishly expensive contracts to players. But those players fall into two groups: (1) past-their-prime legends and veterans (again, specifically thinking of Roberto, Alba, Busi, and Pique); and (2) newer non-Spanish players like Coutinho, Dembele, Griezmann, and FDJ. It's not clear to me that one group is a bigger burden than the other (i.e. Griezmann and FDJ > Alba, Busi, Pique > Dembele, Coutinho >>>>> Roberto). Rather, the difference between the 2 groups is that the former seems to talk about their love for the club a lot more. So as you can see, that group simultaneously is sad that the team is no longer elite and that the club is in shambles generally, but they're also huge beneficiaries of the Barto mismanagement and apparently unwilling to take wage cuts.

Now, the players have no obligation to take pay cuts--they were offered contracts and accepted them. However, they can't say that in one breath but in the other lament the health of the club. I think that's why Pique's comments after the Bayern debacle were so deep--he offered to retire if it was best for the club, but he also said that the club has a lot of bigger problems that need to be addressed too.

To avoid going on any longer, I'll just say that guys like Pique, Busi, and Alba who likely have career earnings that will set them and their families up for life forever but still proclaim their love for the club should lead the charge of taking some pay cuts. Roberto's a lucky SOB who got wages he never should've so I wouldn't ask for him to lower his as much. As a fan, I want Countinho and Dembele to take pay cuts but with their treatment by the club and fans I doubt it happens. Hell, Griezmann and FDJ should also take pay cuts if they want to stay here and be competitive. Now, any paycuts agreed to by the players shouldn't be unconditional--they should extract whatever other concessions they want or can from the club. But it's all a mess and the players that profess their love for the club have to recognize that their bloated wages are a big problem here. Hopefully some of the club mismanagement is in the past.
 

teddykgb

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Why is your premise that players should be taking pay cuts? What kind of fantasy land is this where they are supposed to give discount labor to the club because the previous management is inept? Frenkie De Jong could make his salary and probably more elsewhere. He chose Barca because of the club and financial package offered to him. Now you want him to volunteer to take a pay cut because Barca can’t live up to its word?
 

67YAZ

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Why is your premise that players should be taking pay cuts? What kind of fantasy land is this where they are supposed to give discount labor to the club because the previous management is inept? Frenkie De Jong could make his salary and probably more elsewhere. He chose Barca because of the club and financial package offered to him. Now you want him to volunteer to take a pay cut because Barca can’t live up to its word?
This is what the “mes que un club” mentality allows. Somehow the players are part of a cause, not a business. Barca management have long blurred those lines to their advantage. I suppose Laporta’s success will be defined by how well he work that murky grey space.
 

swiftaw

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This is becoming quite common in all NA sports .. trading bad contracts to teams with no salary cap issues and sweetening it with draft picks or young players.

So, in theory Barca could offer Coutinho back to Liverpool for a paltry transfer fee (20m) and throw in Pedri to make it happen.

Pool would do that in a heartbeat … despite paying Coutinho 200 a week.
Except the difference between soccer and NA sports is that contracts aren't transferable. A new contract is negotiated with the new club.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Except the difference between soccer and NA sports is that contracts aren't transferable. A new contract is negotiated with the new club.
And none of the contracts in question, even Griezmann's 890k euros per week monstrosity, are individually crippling enough to justify giving away a player like Pedri to get rid of it.
 

Kliq

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Yeah giving away Pedri would be like the Celtics trading Tatum so they can get off Kemba's contract.
 

Zososoxfan

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Why is your premise that players should be taking pay cuts? What kind of fantasy land is this where they are supposed to give discount labor to the club because the previous management is inept? Frenkie De Jong could make his salary and probably more elsewhere. He chose Barca because of the club and financial package offered to him. Now you want him to volunteer to take a pay cut because Barca can’t live up to its word?
In no way is my position that the players should take a cut a premise. I explicitly don't think it's a given, and it's not a contractual obligation in any way. Management HAS to figure out a way to dig out of this mess--it's literally their job. If the players don't budge, the club will have to subsidize these contracts one way or another--either through loans to reduce the overall obligation (e.g. Coutinho-Bayern) or offload actual talent to entice other clubs to take on the bad wages (e.g. pairing Pedri, Fati, etc. with the bad wage deal).

I wonder if the club might be able to combine these ideas actually, and use the loan model but with a pair of players. For example, pairing a good asset (e.g. Pedri) with a bad asset (e.g. Coutinho, Roberto, etc.) in a loan deal. This has the benefit of short term relief (reducing the obligation on the bad asset) without losing out on the future upside of the good young player (i.e. they'll still have rights to Pedri/Fati). That's probably a very hard deal to broker--I mean, how many clubs could even consider something like this--but it's an interesting idea to me.

But getting back to the main point, I think the only players that should FEEL any pressure to reduce their wages are the ones that profess to love the club but are on outsized wages. It's a small but important group--Pique, Busi, Alba, Roberto, Messi (this is getting done via the new contract hopefully). But even that is missing the forest for the trees a bit. Griezmann's current annual salary is (E)$46M (!!). Halving that goes a long way towards fixing a short term problem. I don't know enough about wages to say this for sure, but I imagine that Griezmann for $15-20M is something most clubs would consider. That still means Barca would have to get comfortable paying him $25-30M to play for someone else, but again the priority here is getting that $15-20M of relief. Just all around batshit.

Just so it's here, here's one source on Barca's current wages:

RANK PLAYER ANNUAL SALARY WEEKLY WAGES POS. AGE
1 Lionel Messi € 70,758,000 € 1,360,731 RW 32
2 Antoine Griezmann € 45,834,000 € 881,423 CF 28
3 Miralem Pjanic € 8,400,000 € 180,000 CM 30
4 Frenkie de Jong € 20,834,000 € 400,654 CM 22
5 Sergio Busquets € 14,949,000 € 287,481 DM 31
6 Sergino Dest € 5,354,000 € 126,808 RB 19
7 Gerard Piqué € 12,740,000 € 245,000 CB 32
8 Ousmane Dembélé € 12,000,000 € 230,769 LW 22
9 Samuel Umtiti € 12,000,000 € 230,769 CB 25
10 Sergi Roberto € 9,966,000 € 191,654 CM 27
11 Trincao € 4,000,000 € 73,077 RM 19
12 Jordi Alba € 8,580,000 € 165,000 LB 30
13 Marc-André ter Stegen € 8,580,000 € 165,000 GK 27
13 Philippe Coutinho € 8,580,000 € 165,000 CAM 28
14 Arthur € 4,883,000 € 93,904 CM 23
15 Neto € 3,704,000 € 71,231 GK 30
16 Nélson Semedo € 3,429,000 € 65,942 RB 25
17 Clément Lenglet € 2,699,000 € 51,904 CB 24
18 Carles Aleñà € 869,000 € 16,712 CM 21
19 Júnior Firpo € 716,000 € 13,769 LB 23
20 Jean-Clair Todibo € 597,000 € 11,481 CB 19
21 Ansu Fati € 0 € 0 LW 16
22 Iñaki Peña € 0 € 0 GK 20
23 Moussa Wagué € 0 € 0 RB 20
TOTAL € 21,88,92,000 € 33,63,308
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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FWIW, the reporting on La Liga salaries can be very confusing because what is discussed in news stories is often actually the net (ie, post-tax) salary rather than the gross (pre-tax) salary, whereas in England its almost always the gross wages that are discussed. I don't know about the rest of the players on this list but its been reported that Messi's pre-tax salary in the last contract (including bonuses) was nearly double that figure, suggesting that for him at least its listing the net salary.
 

Zososoxfan

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Well, if the reports are accurate (and they almost certainly are since the Club officially released a statement), this thread title remains appropriate, but for entirely different reasons.
 

Zososoxfan

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I was going to come in here and post some musings on the XI for this season in the post-Messi era, but until some wages are renegotiated or unloaded, Memphis and Garcia can't be registered (not sure if Emerson's status is any different). Aguero is out with an injury for a couple of months, so less of an issue with him.
 

Zososoxfan

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Looks like Emerson is registered, as he's returning from loan, but it's unlikely that Memphis, Garcia, or Aguero is registered for Sociedad. Here we go!?!:

Neto
Alba-Pique-Araujo-Dest
Roberto-Busi-Pedri
Martin-Grizi-Fati

Bench: Coutinho, Emerson, Pjanic, Puig, Umtiti, Collado, Inaki Pena.

FDJ, Mingueza, Dembele, Lenglet, and MATS all injured I believe.
 

Zososoxfan

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FDJ started ahead of Roberto, Garcia started ahead of Araujo, and Memphis got registered in time to keep Ansu in the stands.

Barca played an excellent first half that allowed for them to handle a push in the second. Memphis is the headliner here as he seems like a nice weapon on setpieces, setting up Pique (what a week for him) for the opener. He also served as the focal point and the attack just looked more coherent with balance on both of his flanks. Barca turned over Sociedad got the ball out wide to FDJ, who then found a streaking Martin on the far post for a powerful header to double the lead right before HT. Martin stayed on good form and put in a rebound early in the second half to make this one look like a laugher. But in the 82' Alba had a bad turnover trying to work the ball thru MF, a Sociedad player made a nice run through the middle and Emerson (as a sub) lost his man who finished nicely to the far post. A couple of minutes later Oyarzabal hit a beauty FK and made it 3-2. Roberto (also on as a sub) put in a rebound in ET to seal the 3 points.

So overall a good performance that bodes well for the attack, but the defense still looks leaky.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Barcelona is $1.6 billion in debit.

How bad does it have to get before they go bankrupt?

https://www.usnews.com/news/sports/articles/2021-08-16/barcelonas-president-says-clubs-debt-now-at-16-billion

“Our salaries represent 103% of the club’s total income. That’s 20% to 25% more than our competitors,”
Their situation is dire, but they also are expected to break a billion in revenue this year. They should have options that don’t involve bankruptcy; but they may be pushed to a solution that will break the identity of the club.
 

teddykgb

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It’s so strange because even if they didn’t have revenue they’re the polar opposite of the clubs down the ladder who go under. They have plenty of assets which can be sold. They’d receive huge sums for De Jong or Fati but don’t even contemplate selling them. Surely they’d be forced to sell players they’d like to keep before they would end up in any kind of bankruptcy?
 

Vinho Tinto

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It’s not bankruptcy or bust, but they need to figure out where they go forward. They’re trying to create a blueprint to manage their debt while avoiding the blowing up of their roster. Also, they still need to figure out what they’re doing with Nou Camp. And they need all of that while not selling out.
 

67YAZ

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I'm a cynic, and I can't see any way this doesn't end in Saudi investment. Mohammad bin Salman is desperate to sports-wash his image - see his investment in the Club World Cup, the attempt to expand & host part of World Cup 2022, and the failed bid for Newcastle. He'll be willing to cut Barca a sweet deal because the club has a mythical and gauzy global brand and MBS can swoop in as a savior.

It will start off the pitch - maybe leasing naming rights to Camp Nou in exchange for underwriting renovations, hiring the club as technical consultants to the Saudi Professional League and youth development system. And then Saudia as the main kit sponsor and star players get spokespersons contracts with Saudi companies to top up their wages. And then MBS backs a slate of candidates for the Barca board...
 

Vinho Tinto

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67Yaz - I don’t disagree with your scenario as being likely, but the fly in the ointment are the club’s elections. A populist candidate could run on keeping the soul of the club alive and derail any plans to take over.
 

67YAZ

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67Yaz - I don’t disagree with your scenario as being likely, but the fly in the ointment are the club’s elections. A populist candidate could run on keeping the soul of the club alive and derail any plans to take over.
Very true, and populist candidates are definitely going to happen every cycle in this scenario because Barca are as much a nationalist project as they are a football club. But like many financially struggling nations, large scale investment is often too much to turndown. If someone starts pumping in cash and the club starts winning trophies again, every election becomes an implicit ultimatum.
 

Zososoxfan

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I'm a cynic as well but I don't think that path is necessary--as others mentioned this club still has revenues at or near $1B. I think they'd sell off some player assets (FDJ, Pedri, etc.) before going full goon club. You can rebuilt La Masia and the squad, you can't rebuilt the foundation of the club nearly as quickly. That being said, if MBS is willing to do a 5 or 10-year 'temporary wash', I think the club would consider it.
 

67YAZ

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Here's a typically super informative deep dive by the Swiss Ramble.



Some things that pop to me:

Deloitte had Barca generating €715m in 2019/2020. I'm not sure who is predicting this year's revenues to hit €1b given the lingering COVID threat, the loss of Messi, and likely not improving on the UCL performance (quarterfinals). (Or is it $1b, which would be about €850m, which still seems like a stretch.)

Regardless, Barca are estimated to owe €731m in loan repayments this coming year alone. Of course, banks will play ball since mega-clubs are cash-generating machines but at these levels, the banks usually ask for things like board seats in exchange for refinancing in order to keep an eye on their investment. Barca can't give them that.

Laporta might get enough lenders to renegotiate for longer terms - even another year, hopefully post-pandemic would really help - but that will balloon the overall debt and lock Barca into relative austerity budgeting for some length of time. (Relative is the key term. 99.99% of the clubs in the world would love to get by on a Barca austerity budget.)

Maybe that's a good thing. It forces Barca to invest in scouting and analytics to uncover vale and market inefficiencies. It gets them to reinvest in La Masia. And since La Liga is so imbalanced, a weakened Barca still qualifies for European competition, likely the UCL still, but falls far short of challenging for the league.

Laporta is clearly trying to be responsible in solving the problems, but how much patience do the socios have?
 

Zososoxfan

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Here's a typically super informative deep dive by the Swiss Ramble.



Some things that pop to me:

Deloitte had Barca generating €715m in 2019/2020. I'm not sure who is predicting this year's revenues to hit €1b given the lingering COVID threat, the loss of Messi, and likely not improving on the UCL performance (quarterfinals). (Or is it $1b, which would be about €850m, which still seems like a stretch.)

Regardless, Barca are estimated to owe €731m in loan repayments this coming year alone. Of course, banks will play ball since mega-clubs are cash-generating machines but at these levels, the banks usually ask for things like board seats in exchange for refinancing in order to keep an eye on their investment. Barca can't give them that.

Laporta might get enough lenders to renegotiate for longer terms - even another year, hopefully post-pandemic would really help - but that will balloon the overall debt and lock Barca into relative austerity budgeting for some length of time. (Relative is the key term. 99.99% of the clubs in the world would love to get by on a Barca austerity budget.)

Maybe that's a good thing. It forces Barca to invest in scouting and analytics to uncover vale and market inefficiencies. It gets them to reinvest in La Masia. And since La Liga is so imbalanced, a weakened Barca still qualifies for European competition, likely the UCL still, but falls far short of challenging for the league.

Laporta is clearly trying to be responsible in solving the problems, but how much patience do the socios have?
Thanks for this. Really interesting--I would note that the thread is from July 26, so it may be a touch outdated, although still very informative.

Hard to believe the club has €731M to pay in ST debt--that's staggering. I imagine they will try to punt until next year when revenues are a bit more normal. What do you mean by "that will balloon the overall debt and lock Barca into relative austerity budgeting for some length of time."? Why does that necessarily lock Barca into relative austerity budgeting?

I still think the club would sell their prized stars before doing any other more rash business.

FDJ = €90M
Pedri = €80M
MATS = €60M
Grizi = €60M (misleading because his wages make him a net negative)
Ansu = €60M
Dembele = €50M (if they can actually get that they should take it and run)
Coutinho = €30M

Of that group, I think they absolutely have to keep Pedri and should try to keep FDJ as those guys are world class now and should be for the foreseeable future. MATS is tremendous but also a luxury--I'm sure Spurs would love him to be the heir to Hugo for example. MAN U don't seem settled at keeper. If Ansu comes back healthy selling him for major profit should be doable. Unloading anything from the Grizi/Dembele/Countinho group would help.

Perhaps most importantly, I hope the socis understand just how bad the Nunista group (i.e. Rosell and Barto) damaged the club. I mean, if they can't see it (and they obviously can't--there were already banners at Camp Nou for the ouster of Laporta) then the socis (and by extension the city/region) don't deserve the club they once had.
 

67YAZ

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By austerity, I mean relative belt tightening by Barca standards. Kicking the debt down the road with refinancing and bonds will increase the overall obligation without addressing core problems in the short term. Nou Camp needs to be rebuilt. La Masia needs reinvestment. The scouting and analytics departments are the tiniest among the mega-clubs. Making all of these facets of the club world class again in the context of rising debt means taking from the player wages and transfer kitty.

also, FDJ on €400k/week is unsaleable. I might be the biggest FDJ fan on this board, and I’d say he paid double what any of the other mega clubs should offer him.
 

Zososoxfan

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Cross-posting from the UCL thread:

Barca starting Roberto at wingback and Luuk de Jong at Bayern is a pretty good microcosm of the current club's state right now SMH. And really, there's not much hope on the horizon. Barca's best bet to be competitive and fun this year is the return of Ansu, Dembele, and the resurgence of Coutinho (please don't laugh too hard).
And really, I don't see much reinforcements coming next season. This rebuild will take a couple of seasons to offload more deadwood and develop young players. Reaching the UCL group stages, finishing top 4, and reaching the CDR semis should be the bar for this team. More importantly, those should be the goals while also breaking in the young talents of the squad and maybe the more promising La Masia players.

If Koeman isn't giving Puig minutes by the end of the calendar year, he should probably be given the sack.