When it comes to European football circles, the slow demise of Barcelona and their severe salary cap issues have been some of the main talking points throughout much of the past year.
Last season, the Spanish giants were in the La Liga title hunt until the final few weeks. But they were out of contention following a disastrous collapse away at Levante. They were 2-0 up, but somehow contrived to draw 3-3. At least they still had Lionel Messi.
Except, within four months, they hadn’t. On August 5 of last year, the football world went into meltdown. Messi wasn’t staying at Barcelona. The club could not keep him because of “financial and structural obstacles“.
It perhaps sums up how deep the crisis ran that losing the best player in world football wasn’t the sole biggest problem arising from the situation. The club was over €1 billion in debt.
How did Barcelona get into a salary cap crisis?
At the end of September, La Liga handed Barcelona a salary cap of just €97 million for the 2021/22 season. In 2018/19, that cap had stood at €671 million.
The panicking had already begun at the Spanish giants. Players were sold or loaned out left, right and centre. Antoine Griezmann, who signed from Atletico Madrid for €120 million in 2019, was turfed back to the club he came from. On deadline day, Emerson Royal, who had only been registered in August, was promptly sold to Tottenham Hotspur.
Only wage deferrals from senior players could allow for the registration of new signings Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero. Then, in January, Barcelona again had to get players off their books – and pay Manchester City a €1.5 million fee for the 2013 transfer of Denis Suarez – to sign and register Ferran Torres.
Put simply, the current method of staying within the salary cap is, you sense, unsustainable. That is why Barcelona president Joan Laporta has developed a new, aggressive plan to prevent future salary cap disasters.
How are Barcelona planning to stay within the salary cap?
According to Spanish outlet Sport, Laporta is desperate to avoid a repeat of the chaotic scenes that occurred in Barcelona last summer.
To that end, he will impose a salary cap of €10 million on any new player that joins Barcelona.
With the club’s current salary cap at €97 million, that naturally means there isn’t much room for manoeuvre when it comes to bringing new players in – and will surely mean that some big names will have to leave.
Could this work in Barcelona’s favour?
The new salary cap plan will mean that Barcelona cannot bring in the world’s biggest stars this summer. That is unless top stars are so desperate to join the club.
If a player chooses Barcelona over the further potential riches of signing for another top European side, the club’s prestige will undoubtedly have played a significant factor.
For the Spanish giants to get back to the top of the world game, they need a long-term plan. That includes players committed to the club for the next five to 10 years. Introducing a new salary cap could also increase the balance between top players’ earnings and those of players lower down the pecking order, over time.
The report from Sport also claims that the cap could be compensated to bring in a big star. Therefore, Barca’s attempts to sign Erling Haaland could still be very much on.
With plenty of eyes on the club’s current financial situation, Joan Laporta will be hoping this new aggressive Barcelona plan will go some way to easing their salary cap concerns.
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