“The only club that doesn’t have money, but every player buys what they want. I don’t know how. It’s quite crazy.”
Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann on Barcelona
And with him all the right to be honest, how is your starting point the biggest debt in the history of sports, and the far and near know that you don’t have enough money, and then you contract with Robert Lewandowski, Rafinha, Frank Casey and Andreas Christensen, and your market has not yet reached its end?
The key to the answer also starts with another person within Bayern Munich, Oliver Kahn, the club’s legend and CEO:
“You cannot be deceived by all Barcelona transfers, none of us can judge the internal conditions. I find it difficult to judge, they are the only ones who know their economic situation.”
Between the two parts of the mill
Exactly.. This does not mean that the club has recovered economically. The devastation caused by Josep Maria Bartomeu and his disastrous administration, which the Corona pandemic hastened to show its results, is not something that between March 2021 and July 2022 cannot be corrected.
In fact, it could be said that an arbitrary number, such as five years, could be considered excessive optimism.
Debt exceeds one billion euros, and fair play financial regulations prevent players from registering before controlling salaries and making more money available.
In other words, it has become impossible for the team to keep its stars in the current situation, not to mention the technical inconsistency and the lack of planning in the choice of aspects of spending and the type of contracts that pay these amazing salaries become not, which is another situation that was unavoidable to correct, whether Barcelona had the money or not.
So it was necessary to get rid of several previous failed deals that take up a large part of the salary scale, led by Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, but even that was not enough.
The situation was very vague between the first August tragedy in 2020 against Bayern Munich, and the second August tragedy the following year, when Lionel Messi left. But today, with everything we know, we are all forced to accept that fact: the Argentine’s departure was an absolute must.
the new era
Forget the nonsense of “the most collective Barcelona” and “one individual destroyed the club.” Dependency is undoubtedly harmful, and when you have something that words are never enough to describe like Lionel Messi, you must master it to exploit and benefit it. from it and to build it, not destroy it as happened in his last years.
Two people watching the same match do not disagree on Messi’s value, but the needs of the new stage could not bear his salary, even after he agreed to cut it in half, this is what Bartomeu deserves at this club has.
As for the luxury of gradually emerging from the mantle of superstar and preparing wisely and deliberately for the next phase, it is clear that this was not available, as this imperative intersected with a time when the Blaugrana only salaries able to restructure as much as possible and pay the arrears and debt payments.
Step by step the features began to take shape, during a very bad season, no doubt, which required a change in technical management, and then strong reinforcements compared to the small patch of potential available during the January period, and yet when you look at that season at the end you find that it wasn’t really that bad compared to the surrounding conditions.
Barcelona finished the season in second place, and are still in the Champions League, briefly suggesting competition for the Spanish League after fortunes were in the hands of God early on.
So far, it is not Milan in Berlusconi’s poor economic conditions, and not Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson. It doesn’t look like a vortex of ancient clubs drowned by erosion factors, but let’s stick to it “so far”, and that what will really determine – at the end of the season – whether Barcelona will fall into this vortex or not will survive is how the club will move towards this end.
Who will pay?
The real predicament is that at first glance you seem to face one way: to sacrifice everything to get rid of debt, in preparation for building again after the end of this cloud. In fact, this was not the way to end the gloom, but rather the club’s downfall.
This is precisely where the crisis lies. You can immediately drop Messi, Griezmann and Coutinho, so that your attack consists of Memphis Depay, Martin Braithwaite, Abdel-Samad El-Zalzoly, Ferran Gutgla, Youssef Demir, and other names that we have heard or their owners on the field have seen
Maybe it will help you cut your expenses, but who is going to buy these shirts? Really that simple..
Shirt sales are not directly spent on transactions, as it is rumored, the club only gets an agreed percentage of it, but what these sales really bring is popularity, which means more money in the contract of the shirt sponsor himself, the various sponsors of the team, broadcasting rights and various forms of income.
Maybe this path would have managed to deliver Barcelona without debt within years, hoping to raise some players, sell them and profit from their price, then what? The club’s market value drops to the lowest possible point, its future returns decrease, its name diminishes and it becomes less attractive to players over time, until a miracle occurs that restores it to its previous era, if that happens of course.
More than just cranes
In short, it was not the way, but a balance between the two sides: giving the club room to breathe financially after eliminating the urgent top priorities and restructuring the salary cap on the one hand, and rebuilding the squad ‘s power on the field on the other. It was the only solution, but I wish it was that easy.
Imagine that the first solution available to confront debt was more debt. Laporta received several financial payments in his infancy, especially the Goldman Sachs loan with a guarantee of 90% of the broadcast rights, with which he paid many of the payable items, and here the sports file became able to trade seriously. And here came Mathieu Alemani, the most unlucky sporting director in Barcelona’s history.
This man did not have the vaults of Qarun opened by the previous administration, yet he is taking very steady steps in the light of what is available. He managed to manage the salary file with clear and decisive policies, and was then on way to a transfer market that will remain great on paper, regardless of its results.
Barcelona got the approval of the members for the economic leverage scheme, which is divided into the sale of 25% of the broadcasting rights, and the sale of 49% of the club’s marketing company BLM, and actually terminated the two broadcasting cranes, selling 10 has % and then 15% for a total value of around 600 million euros.
Indeed, this plan had the biggest impact on Barcelona’s purchasing power, surpassing all expectations, but alone? It never happened.
“We are looking for players who want to play in the Barcelona shirt.”
Club President Juan Laporta presents Frank Casey
In all these bad circumstances, the club maintained a unified rhetoric: “We are in a bad situation, but we are Barcelona.” Xavi comes out to tell you that Barcelona is the best club in the world, although one look at the list will tell you the exact opposite.
The environment and economic conditions are not at all attractive to players, but repulsive, but the name, dream and ambition to play in Barcelona still exists today. Don’t just play for him, but enter history as his saviors.
Barcelona didn’t beat Chelsea financially in the Rafinha deal, but instead won thanks to the desire of the Brazilian. When Lewandowski decided to leave Bayern Munich, Barcelona weren’t the only club interested in signing him, but they were the only club the Pole was interested in moving to.
Before them, Aubameyang did not choose to remain mired in his dispute with Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, despite his huge salary there, which does not compare to the maximum salary that Barcelona can provide in these circumstances.
We can agree that paying around 50 million euros for a nearly 34-year-old player, whatever his name is, is not an economically wise move in light of the club’s financial woes, but the value of a transaction like Lewandowski – we repeat, in these circumstances – is not limited to what he will provide only technically, It is a message to everyone, including the masses: We are here, we are still alive.
Thus the elements of return are complete, in combination with long-term projects such as the stadium plan, debt of more than one billion which, as you know, will not be repaid in two years, but rather in increasing future returns to the maximum extent possible so that the wheel of repayment of old debts and new loans also continues, while more purchasing power is restored step by step.
When someone tells you in August 2021 that Barcelona can do something even in the next 3 years, you may find it very hard to believe, but when the same person tells you in July 2022 that Barcelona can achieve something by the end of the new season..don’t you feel that his speech has gained some of the logic now?
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