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Barca must cut £170m wage bill to re-sign Messi



Barcelona will be unable to register any of their new signings or re-sign Lionel Messi to a new contract unless they find a way to trim £170m from their wage budget.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said that Barcelona have exceeded their salary cap for the upcoming season, which has kick-started a mass exodus from the club.

Jean-Clair Todibo, Konrad de la Fuente, Junior Firpo and Francisco Trincao have all been sold or loaned and Matheus Fernandes has had his contract terminated, but that is only the start for Barcelona.

The club’s finances are completely short. They’re in debt to the tune of almost £1bn, but the more pressing concern is their wage structure, which has spiralled out of control so badly that, according to Goal, no new players can actually be registered yet.

Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson have all joined the club this summer, but because Barcelona are over their salary cap, they cannot be registered to play and it will stay that way unless they can cut an enormous £170m from their annual wage budget.

As Messi‘s contract has expired, he also classes as a ‘new player’, meaning Barcelona cannot afford to bring him back and register him unless they make some drastic changes.


There are hopes that Barcelona will be able to offload high-earners like Samuel Umtiti, Miralem Pjanic and Philippe Coutinho as well. That would free up around £55m from the budget, but because Barcelona’s wage spending is higher than their income, La Liga rules dictate they can only spend 25% of the money they save on wages for new players. That £55m freed up translates to just under £14m on new wages, which is nowhere near enough.

Because of that, Barcelona are expected to make some tough decisions on a handful of their older players. There have been plenty of rumours suggesting left-back Jordi Alba could be on his way out, and the same goes for midfielder Sergio Busquets, although there are hopes that the latter will agree to slash his salary with a new contract.

According to Mundo Deportivo, there could be at least five more departures from Camp Nou before the club can entertain the idea of re-signing Messi.

On top of Coutinho, Umtiti and Pjanic, Barcelona are likely to sell Neto, Martin Braithwaite and Carles Alena, but there have even been discussions over offloading some of the club’s top earners like Sergi Roberto or even Antoine Griezmann.

Roberto has one year remaining on his contract and has been made available for transfer, although there has been such little interest in him that Barcelona are even considering offering him a new contract.


There is so much work to be done before Barcelona can re-sign Messi. Former president Josep Maria Bartomeu ran the club into the ground with no thought, and new chief Joan Laporta is working tirelessly to try and piece things back together again.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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