Why Barcelona have registered four new players – but not Jules Kounde

Following a very confusing transfer window, Barcelona managed to register four of their five new signings, Jules Kounde being the only player they failed to clear. But why did this happen?

Last week, La Liga gave the Barca hierarchy a headache. They rejected the initial attempts by the Catalan giants to register their new players after spotting an issue with their finances.

Barcelona’s debt issues are well-known. Throughout the summer, though, they have activated various economic levers to generate income to sign new players. In addition, they have sold and moved on other squad members to stay within the La Liga salary cap.

Overall, Barca stated that these moves have made around €850 million in income, per The Guardian.

However, league audits found an issue with one of Barca’s deals. In July, Barcelona sold 25% of their TV rights to investment firm Sixth Street, which the club claimed made €667 million in revenue.

But La Liga found €150 million of that was from a company that Barca had set up – essentially making it not “new income”. All this was legal, though, just not helpful in reaching La Liga’s financial rules.

As a result, the Catalans were short of a large sum of money. So, they had to activate yet another economic lever.

The fourth lever

Last week, the La Liga side announced the activation of their fourth action to generate immediate funds. They sold nearly 25% of Barca Studios to production company Orpheus Media.

According to the club website, the deal “will help to accelerate the growth of the club’s digital, NFT, and Web.3 strategy”. Crucially, though, Barca received €100 million from the sale.

Because of this, they could finally begin registering their new signings within the La Liga guidelines.

Therefore, new signings Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, and Andreas Christensen all officially joined the squad. Meanwhile, renewed contracts for Ousmane Dembele and Sergi Roberto finally cleared.

Kessie and Christensen’s registering was particularly important. This is because the pair had clauses in their contracts that allowed them to leave for free if Barca failed to register them.

Despite getting four signings onboard, this is only an 80% success rate. Barcelona failed to register their fifth signing, Jules Kounde, before their first game.

Why Barcelona did not register Jules Kounde

According to BBC Sport, Barcelona can only sign Jules Kounde to the team once the club frees up “salary mass”. In other words, the Catalan giant’s wage bill must come down before any more players come in.

COPE journalist Pedro Morata reports that Barcelona still need an additional €20-30 million to register all their players.

The club are already negotiating wage cuts with numerous senior players. They also have others ready to leave the club. This will relieve some pressure on the wage bill. Following this, Barcelona should be able to register Jules Kounde.

Barca vice-president, Rafael Yuste, meanwhile, told Barca TV+ (via Barca Universal): “Kounde wanted to play today [against Vallecano]. But we explained the situation, and told him that we’ll do everything possible for him to play next weekend.”

Unfortunately, the newly registered players have not had an immediate impact on the pitch. Barca failed to score in their La Liga opener, instead playing out a 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano. 

All four registered signings featured in the game, but did not find the net.

With more transfer activity on the horizon, do not be surprised if additional new faces end up at Camp Nou.

Featured Image Credit: Getty