Barcelona’s €200 million wage crisis continues, no more economic levers allowed
The Catalan club have still to drop the wage bill of their squad and a huge player departure is a necessity.
The problems are not over for FC Barcelona. Things looked rosy at Camp Nou when the first whistle of the season went in 2022 with their new, shiny players adorning the bright green pitch, but now it appears that the clouds have once again crept from over the Pyrenees to haunt the club.
According to reports, Barcelona cannot use any more economic levers that they famously pulled over the summer, creating capital for the club to be able to incorporate players such as Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski as well as giving improved deals to players.
Barcelona’s summer strategy
Over the summer, Barça President Joan Laporta repeatedly spoke of economic levers that were going to haul the club out of the financial hole past mismanagement had led them to. As such, the club sold off stakes in various parts of the organisation for an instant injection of funds that would allow them to spend in the moment, increasing their squad quality and therefore being able to start a cycle of winning which would, in turn, generate more money.
The plan sounds logical and sensible, success in football undeniably makes a lot of money so that is the best way to generate revenue. However, without good players, this is more difficult. Barcelona needed the money fast, so they sold various things such as a stake in Barça Studios and future television rights in order to generate the money needed to get the players they wanted.
Will Barcelona be forced to sell any of the new players?
But, given the still incredibly high wage bill, and the embarrassing collapse out of this year’s Champions League in the group stage, it looks as though the club’s solution has not worked.
According to Kristian Sturt, Robert Lewandowski is on a wage of around €400,000 per week, and Raphinha is on over half of that figure, as is Jules Koundé. The ludicrous wages for the Polish striker, for example, make little sense when thinking financially, as the player is unlikely to be resold for any considerable sum of money. The same goes for Marcos Alonso, Andreas Christensen and Héctor Bellerín.
Raphinha or Dembélé: who will go?
Barcelona boss Xavi has also struggled this season with the squad that he formed over the summer, with players such as Raphinha and Dembélé stepping on each others’ toes, vying for the same position. Reports have even said that one of the two “will have to go”. The Catalan boss has had to change his preferred style considerably across the season, going from his expected 4-3-3 with pure wide winger to playing 4 across the midfield and sacrificing one of his focal points that initially featured the forward line.
How might things look on the pitch in 2023?
Barcelona ended 2022 with an intense 1-1 draw against city rivals Espanyol, meaning they entered 2023 level on points with Real Madrid. The unknown consequences of the Qatar World Cup 2022 mean that we, as football fans, are all jumping into the darkness of the abyss for the new year, as nobody is quite sure how things such as fatigue and overload injuries such as small tears and hamstring strains will play a part. But it certainly makes things juicy and interesting for everybody watching.
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