Joan Laporta made if very clear during Friday’s press conference that the reason for Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona is simple: financial hell. Because of the mess created by the previous regime, the only way to begin solving the economic issues at the club was to reduce salaries, and letting Messi go was the first big step, according to the president.
Laporta revealed some of the details of Barça’s finances and explained how the club must maneuver their way through the mess to bring the salaries down to a healthy place. The president also explained what needs to be done in order to register the contracts of the four new signings — Sergio Agüero, Memphis Depay, Emerson Royal and Eric García.
“The predicted losses [for 2020-21] were around 200 million but they will be 487 million euros, and that is a lot. We have a small margin to find solutions. Yet even without Leo there is not much room. The ratio is 4 to 1. Without Leo, for every 25 million in salaries, 100 million have to come out. Now the percentage on wages with regards to the budget comes down 110% to 95%.
“The new players can be registered according to our calculations. It is the same, Leo’s merited salary and that of the four signings, they have made an effort and should be thanked. The squad is not definitive until the transfer window ends on 31 August and a lot of things can happen.”
Source: FC Barcelona
First of all, the fact that Barcelona, the most valuable club on Earth, was spending more than their entire income ON SALARIES ALONE is absurd and almost unbelievable. And they still have a lot of work to do to bring the wage bill down to 70%, which is Laporta’s goal.
How can they do that? In two ways: the first is reducing salaries of the current players, and reliable reports from Spain say they are on the road to doing that with Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba, four of the highest earners in the squad who are expected to accept dramatic cuts to stay with the club.
The second step is selling off players who aren’t on Ronald Koeman’s plans. Miralem Pjanic seems to be on his way back to Juventus, and Martin Braithwaite, Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti are other names Laporta is reportedly looking to sell. But those aren’t interested in leaving and it’s hard to find any team willing to pay a transfer fee on top of their giant salaries, and getting rid of them until August 31st will be a big challenge.
This is a truly dark time in the history of Barcelona, and now we no longer have the luxury of watching Lionel Messi to give us some distraction.