Barcelona not being able to buy Memphis Depay at a cut-rate price from Lyon is not what we’re used to. This is a team that spent hundreds of millions on just a couple players such as Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé, and Antoine Griezmann. And a team that spent 18 million on Martin Braithwaite outside the transfer window. But right now the team’s financial muscle is completely atrophied.
The coronavirus pandemic wrecked the club’s bottom line. Well, not just this club’s, but every team’s. But it wouldn’t have happened if the team hadn’t made so many costly, and bad, deals in the past. The wage bill exploded as the team paid veterans more and more, even when they went past their prime. Replacements were never identified, meaning the team is once again playing with Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, and Sergio Busquets starting all three matches so far. And the team’s record signings badly underperformed.
Sergiño Dest was signed, but only after selling Nélson Semedo for more. The same is true of Miralem Pjanić, who went to Juventus for less money than what the Italians paid for Arthur to join them.
Francisco Trincão, Pedri, and Matheus Fernandes came, too, but they were signed before the pandemic reached global status. The team has basically not only spent no money in net terms, but had to raise money just to pay the bills.
Ivan Rakitić, Arturo Vidal, and Luis Suárez (and possibly now Rafinha) were shipped out for very little in terms of transfer fees, primarily just to lower the wage bill. That, too, to teams that play in the UEFA Champions League. Jorge Cuenca was also sold, as Barcelona desperately raised funds. But the spending since the coronavirus hit has been in the negative. And yet they can’t afford Depay, who is rumored to be available at a relatively modest price?
There is mismanagement here that is being exposed ahead of schedule due to the financial losses from the pandemic.