Barcelona will have to raise £178million from selling current players if they are to have any chance of entering the transfer market this summer, the club has been informed.
The Catalan giants’ financial issues are well-documented, and they now face a race to procure the necessary funds in time to have any impact on the upcoming summer window.
This latest update comes less than a month after Barca president Joan Laporta claimed the club was in a strong position, vowed to cut £150m from the wage bill, and stated that no player sales would be necessary.
The club previously spent big in the summer of 2022 on the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde, despite seemingly being hamstrung by monetary issues.
However, they triggered several economic levers, including their TV rights, in order to be able to afford the costly outlay, but still are thought to be in debt to the tune of around £1billion.
Failure to stay in the Champions League, as well as being knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United, tightened an already tight screw at the club, with Barca thought to be relying on European competitions as a source of revenue.
‘As of today, Barcelona doesn’t have any room in its budget to spend in the upcoming transfer window,’ LaLiga chief Javier Tebas said on Thursday in London, at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit.
‘Barcelona has been involved in questionable behaviour which has had an impact on LaLiga and we are acting accordingly. We have ruled that they can no longer sign more players.
‘They sold off £620m (€700m) in TV rights and tried to find different ways to solve the situation but they won’t be able to do that next season. We have strict economic controls. At the end of each window, we tell all the clubs in LaLiga what they can spend.
‘In the case of Barcelona, they have to drop from spending on wages and transfers from £532m to £399m (€650m to €450m), so it’s a budget of minus £177m (€200m).
‘They have to reduce their investment in players and we have encouraged them to sell players because, for every amount they raise in sales, they can spend 40 per cent of that.’
The good news for Barcelona is that there are several players in the squad who are of interest to other sides.
Frenkie de Jong was the target of a high-profile transfer saga involving Man United throughout much of last summer, with the player refusing to leave the Nou Camp.
The current Red Devils boss had appeared keen to reunite with his former Ajax star, and the Red Devils were handed a boost in their pursuit after reports the 25-year-old was keen to play alongside Casemiro.
Ansu Fati has also been rumoured as a target for United, although he has reportedly recently shut down any links with the Premier League side.
The club attempted to remove a number of players from the books last summer, but only managed to permanently sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Philippe Coutinho to Chelsea and Aston Villa respectively.
Samuel Umtiti, Hector Bellerin, Clement Lenglet, Alex Collado and Sergino Dest are all currently out on loan and could be made available for sale this summer, with their futures seemingly elsewhere.
Yet the money raised from parting ways with some of the club’s less valuable players is unlikely to meet the requisite amount set by Tebas, although it will go some way to helping balance the books.
The players most likely to generate the vast sums needed are the likes of talented young stars Gavi and Fati, although Lewandowski, Ronald Araujo and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen are also all of world-class ability and could draw big offers.
However, even if they are able to raise the huge sum of money in the next transfer window, they will only be able to spend two fifths of that amount, meaning their budget would only be a maximum of around £71m.
But regardless of the chances that the Blaugrana have of offloading their players, the latest development will surely come as a blow to their efforts to present themselves as a club striving for financial stability.
Tebas has been outspoken for some time now about the need for greater financial control over Europe’s elite clubs, and now looks to be strengthening his stance with one of his own league’s biggest names.
He has already previously called for Laporta to step down from his position over the recent corruption allegations over payments allegedly made to a former LaLiga chief of referees.