There was a time when transfer business flowed freely for Barcelona.
Players wanted to play for the club - let’s face it, why wouldn’t they - and any offers made for current first-team stars were generally of sufficient value as to make them worthwhile.
How times have changed!
Even if the Catalans spot a player they’d like to offer a contract to, red tape and lack of finances are playing havoc with their ability to do just that.
The club have even admitted their debt still stands at a staggering €1.35 billion. Inigo Martinez and Ilkay Gundogan may arrive on free transfer but any other deals will need sales first.
And selling fringe players and/or those who might be considered as deadwood for want of a better phrase, has proved to be increasingly problematic too.
How has it come to this? Since when did this great institution become a laughing stock in the eyes of some, and an organisation to have over a barrel in certain dealings for others?
The ‘legacy’ that Josep Maria Bartomeu has left in his wake must never be forgotten or forgiven.
It’s his foolishness in giving out such ridiculous contracts in the first place which has seen the club treading water over the past couple of years.
With so many players to try and move on this summer, in order to save on wages, squad places and for the club to be able to bring in new faces to freshen things up, a lot of work needs to be done behind the scenes.
Twelve months ago, some creativity from Mateu Alemany and others ultimately helped to ensure a title-winning season for Barça.
That the situation hasn’t changed and, one could argue, has significantly worsened is a worry though.
Losing the salaries of Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets should’ve placed the club in a much healthier position than prior to 2022/23, but even this doesn’t seem to have been enough to get the cogs whirring in terms of squad redevelopment.
The plain fact is that Barcelona as a club, and its fans, are going to have to get used to this being the new normal.
That the blaugranes have managed to recover in many ways so quickly from those dark days a few seasons ago has to be a cause for celebration, even if there’s still a long way to go for the club to be anywhere close to what they were pre-Bartomeu.
There may well still be a few more hurdles to negotiate as Joan Laporta looks to cling to the last vestiges of the organisation that he first took over in 2003, however, if everyone can pull in the same direction it’s an achievable objective albeit not an easy one.