FC Barcelona Finances: What is left after Alexis Sanchez' transfer? Is Cesc Fabregas still a possibility?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal applauds the fans during a lap of honour after the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on May 15, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Finally, one of this summer’s most unnerving transfer sagas has come to an end, happy end that is. FC Barcelona have signed Udinese’s Alexis Sanchez in a transfer potentially worth €37,5 million (an initial 26 + 11,5 in variables). Earlier this summer, the Blaugrana had already secured the signature of Kiko Femenia for €2 million (potentially rising to €3,5 million).

So essentially FC Barcelona spent €28 million on two players who play in the same position, right-winger. Of course the lower-profile, and multiple times cheaper, Kiko Femenia will not immediately be promoted to the first team. The ex-Hercules player will start the 2011-2012 season with FC Barcelona B. In the past, FC Barcelona has made it a habit of buying left-backs, lots of them. Even this summer the club was linked to yet another one, Sporting Gijon’s Jose Angel. With the likes of Eric Abidal, Adriano and Maxwell still on the books of FC Barcelona, Pep Guardiola apparently still felt like this area of the side is not covered well enough.

In addition to his obvious obsession with left-backs he wants more wingers too. Last season he transformed center forward David Villa into a left-winger only to announce this year that a striker is Barca’s priority in the transfer market. What did he buy in the end, a right-winger. Is it just me or doesn’t FC Barcelona’s transfer strategy make any sense at all? Jeffren, a winger and graduate of FC Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy is still under contract with the Blaugrana. With the arrivals of Kiko Femenia and Alexis Sanchez his time in Catalunya has definitely come to an end and the needs to go, now! As harsh as it sounds he and fellow La Masia graduate, Bojan, have no (immediate) future with the Blaugrana.

In my opinion there’s only one reason why FC Barcelona were so intent to buy Alexis Sanchez this summer, he is groomed to be David Villa’s successor. He is versatile enough to play in any of the three forward positions but he seems destined to make the left-wing his own eventually. Since he is a natural right-footer he would continue FC Barcelona’s tradition of playing wingers on the "wrong" side, just like a very famous Brazilian did a couple of years ago. At almost 30 years of age David Villa isn’t going to improve. If FC Barcelona is lucky he will maintain his high standard for another year or two. Alexis Sanchez would allow him to play in his regular position, as a center forward, too. Basically Sanchez frees up David Villa to be the striker Pep Guardiola longed for. With Bojan and Jeffren set to exit the Blaugrana it’s only 4,5 players who compete for 3 forward positions – Lionel Messi, David Villa, Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and….Ibrahim Afellay who only counts as a half-a-forward. Besides I don’t expect him to get a lot of opportunities anyway.

But let’s do the math here for a moment. The official budget (which I now believe is actually higher considering Pep said "we set aside money for this –Cesc- player) was set at: €45 million

€45.000.000

-           2.000.000 for Kiko Femenia

-          €26.000.000 for Alexis Sanchez

=    €17.000.000

That’s €17.000.000 FC Barcelona actually concede to have left for transfers. But what about the impending sales of Bojan, Jeffren and, hopefully, Maxwell and Gabriel Milito? Not to mention the deadweight that goes by the name of Alexandr Hleb? What one has to take into account are their considerable wages too.

Bojan transfer is valued at around €12 million, Jeffren at €6 million, Maxwell and Gabriel Milito perhaps as much as €7-9 million combined while injured Hleb is worth nothing. That’s another €18 - €27 million.

Furthermore, according to the Business Insider, the average salary of a Barca fist team player is just under $8 million or roughly €5,5 million. Let’s just assume for the moment that this holds true for the aforementioned players. Then the sale of these players would free up an additional €25 million. But since Bojan and Jeffren are fairly young and have not been acquired from other clubs, which would have inflated their wages, I will deduct a further €4 million (Bojan’s salary is the benchmark, he earns around €1,8 million) for both players from the quoted €25 million.  So where do we stand now? The sales of Bojan & co. could potentially save FC Barcelona €21 million in salary alone.

So in the absolute best case scenario (all of the above players are sold) the calculation would be similar to this:

€17.000.000 the rest of the initial transfer fee

          +€18.000.000 from potential sales (it’s a long shot I know)

          +€21.000.000 in saved salaries

            €56.000.000

So with all due respect to Arsenal FC and its fans, FC Barcelona could possibly meet the Gunners asking price of €45 million without breaking the bank. After all it’s not like the Blaugrana are scanning the market for like-for-like replacements to replace their outgoing players. For example Hleb didn’t play for Barca in ages while Gabriel Milito has been a liability. At the end of the summer we all will find out who is right and who isn’t but I wouldn’t concede defeat just yet.

Personally speaking, the signing of Cesc Fabregas would make no sense whatsoever. The asking price of €45 million is just about fair and reflects his market value – I will admit as much. I would even go as far and say it’s a bargain for a player of his quality and age. But in relation to the actual needs of the side (a center back for crying out loud), the signing of Cesc Fabregas would prove too expensive, an unnecessary vanity signing, so to speak. But that’s just me.   

 

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