Barcelona have reportedly put a remarkable 18 players up for sale this summer – including Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho – in order to tackle their vast debt.
The Catalan giants are desperate to cut costs as they owe around £862 million, a figure which has risen during the pandemic. And while Barca are trying to keep transfer fees to a minimum by targeting out of contact players – such as striker Sergio Aguero– the club’s wage bill is among the highest in Europe.
So to raise funds and cut their outgoing wages, Barcelona president Joan Laporta is reportedly trying to offload up to 18 players (per theMirror) including some huge international stars.
Coutinho is likely to leave as the 28-year-old Brazil international should still have considerable sell-on value despite, never quite settling at the Camp Nou. There are even reports he’s been offered back to Liverpool in exchange for the Premier League club cancelling remaining instalments on his original fee to Barca.
France ace Griezmann has similarly never found his very best form at the club, but it may be a surprise to see Barca academy graduate Sergio Busquets among the listed players. An agreed wage cut, however, could keep the high-earning midfielder at the club.
Jordi Alba and Clement Lenglet are also reportedly on big salaries, while Sergi Roberto has been linked with a move to Manchester City.
Signing the likes of Aguero and Eric Garcia from City, with Memphis Depay expected to join on a free transfer from Lyon, has helped Barca cut out transfer fees as they look to save cash. However Georginio Wijnaldum reportedly chose Paris Saint-Germain over the Liga side, as Barcelona could not afford to match PSG’s wages.
Barca’s clear out is also supposed to include Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Martin Braithwaite and Matheus Fernandes; who are all likely to attract some transfer interest, while Miralem Pjanic doesn’t appear to be part of manager Ronald Koeman’s plans.
Other players reportedly at risk of being sold – unless perhaps they are willing to accept a salary cut – are Sergino Dest, Riqui Puig, Francisco Trincao, Emerson and one Gerard Pique (surely not).
We’ll save time for Pep Guardiola, frantically scanning the list of 18 names: Lionel Messi – expected to sign a contract extension – is not among them.