Teenage sensation Ansu Fati. SUR
Barça's summer holidays may be short

Barça's summer holidays may be short

It is reported that Camp Nou are trying to arrange a money-spinning trip to Tokyo for the team this summer, a similar venture in Australia last year raised around five million euros for the club

Rob Palmer, commentator ESPN

Friday, 21 April 2023, 11:43


Barcelona's penny-pinchers need to take a leaf out of the accountancy books of my paymasters when I was on the books of a struggling English club.

As an apprentice at Derby County, one of our tasks was to assist the ground-staff with the forking of the pitch post-match. Normally this was a laborious task, but if Leeds or Chelsea had visited, it became a profitable chore.

With the coins hurled from the terraces, we could finance a night out and kebab on the way home (one of the many reasons my professional career didn't advance).

The club was broke. They'd already cut back on the milk delivery for tea and coffee. One director became wise to the coin-collection which boosted our £25 a week wages and insisted the head groundsman collected the coins for the club coffers.

At the Camp Nou, they'll be taking note. It's reported that the institution is around €1 billion in debt, they've pulled many financial levers and juggled finances to continue to compete.

The dream is to bring Lionel Messi back to his footballing home this summer when his contract in Paris expires. The transfer would be free, but even if he played for beer money the club couldn't afford him.

"Barça must take many financial measures to undertake Messi's registration", La Liga's President Javier Tebas declared.

In short, just to register a new player, they must raise around €200 million to reduce debt to a level that meets the stringent rules of Spanish football.

Someone may have to break the news to the players that their summer holiday is about to be delayed. The season finishes on the first weekend of June and I'm sure most were planning to be on a beach the next day.

It's reported that Barça are trying to arrange a money-spinning trip to Tokyo for one final game before the players head off for the summer. It follows a similar venture in Australia last year which raised a reported €5 million.

You can imagine Xavi breaking it to his players that they're heading back to Catalunya from Vigo via Tokyo International.

Measures need to be taken whether Messi makes a glorious return or not. At least one of the stars needs to be auctioned off.

It would make sense to cash in on teenage sensation Ansu Fati. There's bound to be a Premier League club that hasn't realised that he's not quite living up to early expectations and they'll weigh in with a multi-million pound offer. In the ideal world, Barça would hold out to see if his progress is just delayed by last year's knee operation. He's still only 20 and there's undoubted talent. An offer over €50 million would undoubtedly secure that talent and reduce the debt.

The other dilemma is Frenkie De Jong. He dug his heels in when a move to Manchester United would have raised €75 million at the start of the season. He cited the lack of Champions League football and his love of the city of Barcelona for staying put. Now, the English club are back in the elite European competition and Paris Saint-Germain would be another suitor. It would be the loss of a major player from a title-winning season, but it would reduce the debt considerably.

It is taking the edge away from the expectation of winning the league. One thing is for certain: it won't be champagne flowing when they celebrate, the bottles will be filled with fizzy water and recycled. Nothing can go to waste in these frugal times.

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