The High’s and Low’s of the Transfer Window for the Catalan Giants

5 min read
Transfer Window Joan Laporta

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta

A Transfer Window to Remember

It is no mystery that the Catalan giants, FC Barcelona, have faced a disastrous spell ever since the pandemic hit the world. And when I say this, I not only mean financially but in terms of the team’s form and competitiveness.

Before the pandemic hit globally, FC Barcelona became the first sporting team to surpass the $1 billion (Euros 914 million) mark in revenue. Now it lies in debt of Euros 1.35 billion, which is mostly in the short term.  The 2020-21 season being played with limited or no stadium fans has only aggravated the club’s financial crisis.

The departure of Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Arthur Melo ensured savings against these highly paid players. Still, at the cost of a lot more than wages, lack of competitiveness in the big leagues, not winning major trophies, players unrest in the dressing room, the difficulty is signing talent to fill in the voids left by these players – all these followed which has made the club act in an urgent direction of re-structuring.

With the former president Bartomeu losing in the elections, Joan Laporta took office once again this year to revive the club in every direction. But his start could not be more bitter, due to the terrible inheritance by his predecessor, “Josep Bartomeu” as the club’s financial state made the best player in the world – Lionel Messi, leave.

Lionel Messi departure 

The agreed verbal contract between the club and Messi could not be adhered to, and due to the financial regulation in La Liga, Messi could be registered as a player. Who would have imagined this?

La Liga imposes the caps upon all 42 clubs across the top two divisions of Spanish football – with the budget for each club based on their earnings, revenue streams, profits and losses, overhead costs, investments and debt repayments.

La Liga chief  Javier Tebas has said of the situation: “When a club goes over its salary cap, it can only include players who represent 25% of the savings.”

The four summer signings of Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay and Emerson Royal would have been left in disbelief as the dream to play alongside Lionel Messi is no longer possible.

Laporta thanks Gerard Pique for taking a pay cut

Barcelona had signed Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia on free transfers this summer. However, despite the departure of Messi, the club was only able to register the pair at late notice ahead of their opening-day victory against Real Sociedad, after captain Gerard Pique agreed to take a reduction in his salary. Sergio Aguero will be out of action until November due to a calf injury, registered as a Barcelona player.

TRANSFERS OUT:

Lionel Messi: After 21 years with the club, arguably the best footballer on the planet, leaves the club and joins PSG for his next chapter in football. Despite the club and player reaching an agreement and their clear intention to sign a new contract could not happen because of financial and structural obstacles.

Antoine Griezmann: After spending two years in the Blaugrana jersey with 102 appearances since 2019, the Frenchman will return to Los Colchoneros on a season-long loan with a compulsory permanent transfer clause.

Carles Alena: Since his debut for the senior team in 2016/17 for the Catalans, Carles Alena had spent his youth and senior football career in the Blaugrana colours since 2005. He has now moved on a permanent deal to the Spanish side – Getafe.

Junior Firpo: The Dominican Republic defender had spent 2 seasons with the club since his arrival in 2019. Firpo has joined the English side – Leeds United on a permanent transfer for a four-year deal.

Francisco Trincao: Arriving in the summer of 2020, the 21-year-old Portuguese talent has joined the English side – Wolverhampton Wanderers for a year-long loan till June 2022.

Jean-Claire Todibo: The French 21-year old who arrived in Spain in 2019 played only a handful of games for the Catalans. Owing to match-time, he went on loan to Schalke 04, Benfica and finally to Nice. French club – Nice has exercised its right to purchase Todibo on a permanent deal.

Emerson Royal: Brazilian right-back Emerson Royal, who recently signed for Barcelona this transfer window, has joined the English side – Tottenham Hotspurs on a permanent transfer for a five-year deal.

Ilaix Moriba: Growing through the youth ranks in Barcelona since 2010 and making his senior team debut for the Catalans last season has given Moriba recognition for his youth talent. He has joined the German side – RB Leipzig on a permanent transfer for a five-year deal.

TRANSFERS IN:

Sergio Aguero: Spending 10 seasons with Premier League champions Manchester City; the Argentinian signs for Barcelona on a two-year contract on a free transfer.

Eric Garcia: The homecoming. 20-year Spanish defender returns to Barcelona after spending four seasons with Manchester City on a five-year contract on a free transfer.

Memphis Depay: 27-year old Dutchman, Depay finally had his childhood dream come true. He joined Barcelona on a free transfer after his contract expired at French club Olympique Lyonnais this summer. Depay signed for Barcelona on a two-year contract.

Luuk de Jong: Another de Jong, another Dutchman. Luuk de Jong joins the Catalans from the Spanish side – Sevilla on a season-long loan spell.

THE POSITIVES ++

Barcelona will obtain over Euros 150 million in player sales if all the variables are met through this transfer window.

  • Griezmann (on loan to Atl. Madrid and 40M for a permanent deal)
  • Emerson 25M fee (out of which 20% to Real Betis)
  • Ilaix 16M (+7M)
  • Todibo 8.5M (+7M)
  • Aleña 5M
  • Cucurella 1.8M
  • Firpo 15M
  • Konrad 3.5M
  • Trincao 6M loan fee (+29M)
  • Akieme 3.5M

As the most spectacular transfer window in the history of football is now closed, we can be hopeful that our restructured team can deliver to its full potential and make the Blaugrana colours fly high once again.

Visca El Barca! Mes que un Club!

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