As traditional, in his press convention on Thursday, Barcelona president Joan Laporta fielded loads of questions in regards to the membership’s monetary state of affairs and the way it impacts their plans within the switch market.
As we noticed with the latest protracted drama over Gavi’s registration, Barca’s cash worries — and their ongoing battle with La Liga — are removed from resolved. As issues stand, La Liga’s competitors guidelines require them to chop about €200million (£177m; $214.4m) from their wage invoice.
When requested how Barca anticipate to make their numbers add up, Laporta replied enigmatically: “We nonetheless have some playing cards to play.”
And though he mentioned it wouldn’t be “strictly essential” to promote gamers in the summertime, he actually didn’t rule the choice out, including: “There are alternatives in each market, and we’ll be maintaining a tally of them.”
Right here, The Athletic takes a glance by Barca’s first-team squad (excluding mortgage gamers) and asks the query: who could be the most definitely to go away if the membership determined to promote?
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (contract expires 2025)
Goalkeeper Ter Stegen has buried all of the doubts raised by final season’s performances. He’s arguably Barcelona’s most improved participant this time period and can be a pivotal determine within the dressing room — he grew to become the membership’s ‘third vice-captain’ after Gerard Pique’s retirement in November.
He signed a contract extension, and a wage deferral, simply earlier than former president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned. His wages are approach above Laporta’s wage construction however the membership can’t do a lot to repair that.
The 30-year-old may be very joyful at Barcelona and it’s troublesome to image him anyplace else.
Inaki Pena (contract expires 2023)
Barcelona’s back-up keeper is on the verge of signing a brand new contract on the membership. The one motive it’s not official but is similar as the rationale Alejandro Balde hasn’t prolonged but both — uncertainty over La Liga’s flexibility in registering new contracts.
Pena, 23, may go on mortgage to get extra first-team minutes, however he’s certain to remain a part of Barca’s plans.
Sergi Roberto (contract expires 2023)
Final summer season, Roberto, 31, took a big pay lower when signing a 12-month extension to the profitable four-year deal he agreed in 2018, which was reported to be price round €10m (£8.8m, $10.7m) per yr.
His representatives have held conferences with Barcelona over one other extension.
The correct-back’s versatility makes him a beneficial asset for Xavi as a squad participant and now, after the supervisor gave the inexperienced gentle, he’s on the verge of signing one other one-year deal.
Jules Kounde (contract expires 2027)
France defender Kounde, 24, joined simply final summer season for a sizeable switch charge (€50m plus €10m in variables) and has change into Xavi’s first selection at right-back. He isn’t on the listing of potential departures.
Ronald Araujo (contract expires 2026)
Araujo signed a contract extension final April, which was a reduction to all Barca followers. The 23-year-old Uruguayan has change into Barcelona’s rock in defence, and rumours of potential Premier League curiosity in him have been a priority.
Xavi sees Araujo as a Barca defender “for the following decade”. Like all the things on the membership, nevertheless, issues aren’t that easy. Araujo’s new contract has nonetheless not been registered with La Liga.
Barcelona insist they’ve the financial margin to finish his registration in the summertime. It’s unclear what would occur in the event that they don’t handle to take action, however for now, each membership and participant solely see the longer term at Barcelona.
Eric Garcia (contract expires 2026)
Kounde, Araujo and Andreas Christensen are all forward of centre-back Garcia, whose standing suffered after poor performances towards Inter Milan within the Champions League.
He doesn’t appear to be a key a part of Xavi’s plans, and any sale would generate on the spot revenue for the membership, as Garcia joined on a free switch from Manchester Metropolis. Nevertheless, his sale isn’t being thought-about.
Garcia is a more-than-decent defensive possibility. The 22-year-old has been moulded within the type of a real Barcelona participant and can be a lifelong fan of the membership. He has appreciable potential and the form of angle any supervisor would need in a dressing room: wonderful work ethic, management and dedication to a squad’s frequent objectives.
There is no such thing as a motive to consider he’ll go away this summer season.
Andreas Christensen (contract expires 2026)
Christensen’s free switch from Chelsea could also be the most effective signing Barca made final summer season — he has arguably been the most effective centre-back in La Liga.
However… with Barca, there’s all the time a however.
As Christensen joined on a free, any sale would immediately enhance Barca’s finances — the total charge could be used to offset different prices. Might the membership resist a big-money supply for the 26-year-old Dane?
Membership sources, who requested to talk anonymously to guard their place, concede that it might be troublesome to take action. Xavi wouldn’t be joyful, although, and it’s troublesome to think about the supervisor sanctioning his departure.
Marcos Alonso (contract expires 2024)
Alonso’s case is similar as Roberto’s, with the distinction that Alonso has already signed his contract extension till 2024. And, additionally like Roberto, his versatility has labored in his favour — he has performed as an emergency centre-back when required.
If an excellent supply for the 32-year-old got here up, Barcelona would positively take into account it, however proper now an exit appears removed from seemingly.
Alejandro Balde (contract expires 2024)
Laporta confirmed one in all Barcelona’s worst-kept secrets and techniques on Thursday: Balde’s contract extension is about to be finalised. It has not been made official but due to the tensions between the membership and La Liga over new contract registrations.
“We are able to’t say Balde’s extension is finished and sealed, however we’ve labored on it and it’s virtually all agreed,” Laporta mentioned. “Balde has proven his need to remain at Barcelona, and his agent (Jorge Mendes) has additionally helped so much.”
The logic right here is straightforward: Barcelona can’t afford to lose a 19-year-old with Balde’s high quality and potential.
Jordi Alba (contract expires 2024)
Let’s begin the enjoyable. Alba, who will flip 34 in March, has been taking part in a back-up function because the emergence of Balde. He additionally has one of many largest contracts at Barcelona.
Alba’s wage, together with fee deferrals signed below former president Bartomeu, is reportedly round €20m a yr. In line with those self same studies within the Spanish press, Sergio Busquets is the one squad member incomes extra.
Busquets’ contract expires this summer season, however Alba’s deal runs till 2024. Paying for a back-up left-back isn’t a super state of affairs for Barca, however neither is there a straightforward resolution.
Barcelona will attempt to transfer him on this summer season — as they did on deadline day final summer season, when a transfer to Inter Milan was on the playing cards. Alba’s camp, nevertheless, dismissed any risk of him leaving and weren’t joyful about these on the Camp Nou making an attempt to out of the blue offload him.
On Friday, in an interview with Marca, Alba was requested whether or not he’d be open to taking a wage discount.
He mentioned: “Sure, it might be a membership choice and I’ve all the time helped the membership out once they have requested it. There have been quite a lot of lies within the media, however I’ve all the time been on the facet of the membership and nobody can say anything.”
What’s subsequent then? Wait and see in the event that they attain an settlement. But when there’s a mission elsewhere that might attraction to Alba, the opportunity of Barca permitting him to go away on a free switch shouldn’t be dominated out both.
Sergio Busquets (contract expires 2023)
Regardless of being within the final yr of his contract, Xavi insists he desires Barca’s captain Busquets to remain. The board is keen to again the supervisor — however in no way prices.
Busquets, who turns 35 in July, is reportedly incomes round €22m a yr, the largest wage of the present squad.
He has different choices. The thought of ending his profession in MLS is interesting and there’s reportedly a suggestion from the Saudi Arabian league that may be way more profitable.
But when Busquets have been to remain, he must take a big pay lower.
Now it’s as much as him. It’s truthful to say some on the membership wouldn’t complain if his wage was completely taken out of the equation for subsequent season, however Xavi will attempt to not let that occur. The supervisor desires him right here.
Pedri (contract expires 2026)
This one will likely be quick.
Barcelona have completely no real interest in promoting one in all their star gamers in 20-year-old Pedri…
Gavi (contract expires 2026)
… and it’s the identical along with his midfield companion. Gavi is taken into account indispensable at Barca.
However the 18-year-old’s new contract registration remains to be topic to a authorized dispute with La Liga. What is going to occur if a court docket guidelines of their favour and that registration is now not legitimate?
Gavi’s contract, agreed in September, included a clause that said he may go away freed from cost in the summertime if Barca had not managed to register him as a first-team participant. If La Liga wins its case and reverts his registration to that of an academy participant he may, in principle, stroll away.
Barcelona will do all the things of their energy to keep away from issues taking place that route.
Barca risked dropping Gavi for nothing. So that they acted quick — and in secret
Frenkie de Jong (contract expires 2026)
“We discovered the right place for De Jong. I see him as being very joyful.”
These have been Xavi’s phrases final weekend after Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Sevilla.
Following an eventful summer season that was not notably nice for the 25-year-old Dutch midfielder, De Jong confirmed willpower to remain on the membership, regardless of makes an attempt to dump him to Manchester United.
Senior sources at Barcelona, who will stay nameless to guard their roles, acknowledge they’ll’t do something to alter De Jong’s wage, which they suppose is simply too excessive. However his performances this season, plus his age and potential, imply Barcelona know they need to in all probability hold him, particularly within the context of Busquets’ potential departure.
Nevertheless, they nonetheless stay open to affords that may attraction to events.
Franck Kessie (contract expires 2026)
Kessie’s state of affairs is an odd one. Regardless of being a helpful asset for Xavi, there’s a feeling within the membership that the midfielder won’t ever change into a key participant at Barcelona.
The 26-year-old would in all probability get extra sport time elsewhere, and his departure would give Barcelona a welcome monetary enhance as he joined on a free final summer season.
Final month, there have been already studies a few potential swap deal involving Inter’s Marcelo Brozovic. Count on extra noise about Kessie in the summertime.
Ferran Torres (contract expires 2027)
On the pitch, Barcelona haven’t obtained the form of return they needed since spending €55m on Torres a yr in the past. He has carried out approach beneath expectations, however promoting him wouldn’t be easy.
The 22-year-old signed a contract till the summer season of 2027 when he joined from Manchester Metropolis, so Barcelona are spreading the price of his switch throughout the years of his deal to amortise their spend. So in the event that they needed to money in on the winger to satisfy La Liga’s monetary guidelines, they would want a giant supply to report a revenue that may have a significant impression on the membership’s wage restrict.
Raphinha (contract expires 2027)
The Brazilian’s image is much like that of Torres. An enormous supply could be wanted for Barca to make a revenue from promoting Raphinha, who arrived for £55m final summer season. He additionally has 5 years nonetheless to run on his contract and has a degree to show, so it feels too quickly to be speaking in regards to the 26-year-old leaving.
But additionally, once more like with Torres, that isn’t to say Barca are completely closed to the likelihood.
Ousmane Dembele (contract expires 2024)
Dembele signed a brand new deal final yr that reduces his launch clause to €50m this summer season. Given he’s solely 25 and that he’s experiencing his finest season at Barca, which may show to be an interesting price ticket.
However Barcelona do wish to hold him. Xavi adores Dembele. Laporta is a big admirer too. The Frenchman feels an essential a part of the dressing room for the primary time in a very long time — even when he’s out with a thigh harm proper now.
Dembele has loads of causes to remain, and it looks as if the wisest choice he may make. However given the discharge clause and impending contract talks, there could possibly be multiple possibility on the desk.
Ansu Fati (contract expires 2027)
Fati was as soon as the right inheritor for Lionel Messi’s No 10 shirt. In the present day, his identify is usually talked about first when membership figures marvel which gamers may go away to ease their monetary woe. Amongst all of the particular abilities who got here by La Masia and are nonetheless at Barca, Fati is seen as probably the most dispensable.
There are three forwards clearly forward of him in Xavi’s pecking order (Robert Lewandowski, Dembele and Raphinha) and he has not proven his finest when given probabilities.
Why is his standing as a Masia graduate essential? In monetary phrases, it’s essential. Barcelona didn’t pay to signal Fati — the total quantity of any charge obtained would go in direction of matching La Liga’s wage restrict.
Mendes, the extremely influential agent who’s Fati’s consultant, travelled to Barcelona this week, the place he met with the participant and his entourage. Laporta mentioned on Thursday that Mendes has advised the membership there are a number of suitors round Europe who’ve enquired about his state of affairs.
However based on Fati’s camp, the 20-year-old desires to remain and show he can succeed on the Camp Nou.
Robert Lewandowski (contract expires 2026)
A simple one to complete.
The probabilities of Poland striker Lewandowski leaving subsequent summer season are non-existent. The 34-year-old has settled brilliantly at Barca, the place he’s prime scorer with 23 objectives from 26 video games in all competitions.
His contract runs till June 2026, when he’ll be 37.
(High images, from left to proper: Pedro Salado/High quality Sport Pictures, David S. Bustamante/Soccrates, Gongora/NurPhoto, all by way of Getty Pictures).
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