Piqué exit frees up €30 M for new signings: Iñigo, Foyth, Zubimendi...
Pique’s retirement will help Barça significantly reduce their wages bill. Iñigo Martínez is an option to reinforce the centre-back position plus Xavi’s great dream, Bernardo Silva.
Gerard Piqué's departure will effectively free up some 30 million euros (the centre-back was the highest-paid Spanish player in LaLiga) - that is the gross salary that he would have earned for the year and a half of his remaining contract with the Barça club. “What Piqué has done shows an unquestionable love for Barcelona,” club president Joan Laporta said of Piqué's decision to call it a day. Further down the line, Barça and Piqué will have to negotiate the amount that the player is owed from delayed payments but, for now, Barça have much needed breathing space and the savings opens the door to new signings.
Barça have several options open to them. The first will be to immediately fill the vacant centre-back position. The main candidate is Iñigo Martínez, whose contract with Athletic ends in June 2023 and who could arrive on a free transfer or, if Barça decide that they need him now, start negotiating with Athletic.
Money in the bank
Barça could also choose to use those 30 million euros by strengthening other positions - such as the right-back slot. Barça were unable to seal the signing of Juan Foyth in the summer (after missing out on Azpilicueta) because Villarreal insisted on the player’s 42 million buy-out clause. The club could reactivate their pursuit of the defender. Barça also need to sign a midfielder - the favorite is Zubimendi, although that might have to wait until the end of the season. And if the club decide to spend big, Bernardo Silva, who was Xavi’s big dream last summer...
This is the scenario that Xavi wants to observe calmly when he sits down to chat at length with the president, Joan Laporta during the break for the World Cup. The objective is to draw up a plan of action for the next month and a half. Then there is the salary issue. Thanks to the famous ‘levers’, Barça was able to get out of the stifling one-to-four status (it could only spend 25% of the euros it released) to go back to one-one. There was a possibility that LaLiga could send Barça back to that one-four hell in June - that would invite Mateu Alemany to step up plans to make more signings in the winter market. But there is also the possibility that Alba and Busquets, who take up a good chunk of the salary bill could follow Piqué and leave next June. That would open up even more options in the transfer market for Barça.
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