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FC Barcelona: from Bankruptcy to an Active Transfer Market

A strategy promoted by its president, Joan Laporta, has allowed the Blaugrana institution to obtain the services of Robert Lewandowski, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen. How did they achieve it?

Robert Lewandowski in the Barcelona shirt

Photo: IG-fcbarcelona

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: FC Barcelona: de la quiebra a un activo mercado de fichajes

Joan Laporta led from the offices the successful cycle of FC Barcelona between 2008 and 2013 when the Catalan team won two Champions Leagues, four leagues in Spain and the unforgettable sextet in 2009, among many other trophies, while Lionel Messi led from the field of play.

A year ago, Laporta returned as president of the club, but in a very different situation, championed by economic debts, without Messi and several of its legendary players. The 2021-22 season ended up being the worst for the Blaugrana in more than a decade, as they were nowhere near winning a title.

This panorama foreshadowed an unattractive 22-23 transfer market in the Catalan institution until a few days ago, when the leader pulled out of his hat a strategy that has allowed his club to sign actively during the season break, heralding a club that will compete for titles in the coming soccer seasons.

The Strategy

On the last day of its fiscal year, Barcelona closed an agreement with the Sixth Street fund to sell 10% of its audiovisual rights for 25 years in exchange for 207.5 million euros. The operation is serving the azulgrana entity not to close with losses for the third consecutive calendar year, and, in addition, it will report capital gains of 267.5 million.

In the most recent club assembly, the members gave their approval to the negotiation that will continue for the next 25 years. The affiliates allowed him to get rid of up to 25% of the television rights, a path that the club will continue in the coming months until it reaches the maximum quota.

“We are executing our strategy to strengthen the financial base of the club; Sixth Street supports the world of football hastily”, Laporta assured after making the agreement official, according to El Economista. It is not a minor fact to remember that the aforementioned fund reached an agreement of 360 million with Real Madrid to remodel the new Santiago Bernabéu.

In turn, Alan Wixman, CEO of Sixth Street, told the same media outlet, “Our team hopes to have a long-term alliance.” Thus, Barcelona made the first divestment in its objective of cleaning up accounts and returning to the transfer market, taking advantage of the 15% that corresponded to its market package.

But Laporta's economic levers still have to decide how to register their signings in La Liga, a competition that has been inflexible with financial fair play, and warn what will happen in the future, because Barça is selling part of its assets to obtain money invested in players. The deadline to resolve the matter is August 31.

Also read: Who Are the Oldest Football Stars that Still Play?

Third in Transfers

This is how Barça in just two weeks went from living in the red to being the third club in Europe that has spent the most money on transfers, at least until the first half of July, after securing the services of Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Ousmané Dembélé, Rapinha and of course, the stellar movement of Robert Lewandowski.

The first three mentioned arrived free, the second at the stroke of a checkbook. The Brazilian cost 55 million, which could increase to 65 with the bonuses. In turn, the Polish striker cost 45 and will surely increase five more with the bonuses. In total, the Camp Nou offices have spent 100 million euros on contracts, which could amount to 115.

A signing for each line of the field and some other names that are in the pipeline, such as the Portuguese Bernardo Silva, from Manchester City or the defender Jules Koundé from Sevilla. Lewandowski, a consecrated scorer who marked history at Bayern Munich, is undoubtedly the star signing, and the reference on which this new project will be managed, which, this time, will be able to put together his coach Xavi from the beginning.

For now, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, with an investment of 108 million, tops the list after the addition of Norwegian Erling Haaland, who cost 60, and Kalvin Phillips, for whom 48 were paid. Unlike previous seasons, the Catalan technician's team has been finer with sales and has entered 120 million. Undoubtedly, a positive balance. The second box is also in England with Leeds, who have spent 105 million on six players, but saw 106 enter with the sale of Rapinha.

But not everything is perfect, because Barcelona still has the matter of improving sales pending. To date, they have received 22.5 million from the sales of Coutinho (20) and Rey Manaj (2.5), to which three more must be added for the transfer fee from Trincao to Sporting de Portugal. The club is still waiting for the Dutchman Frenkie De Jong to agree to go to Manchester United in order to enter 75 million euros from the transfer.

And What About Real Madrid?

The brand new European champion is on the list of the ten teams that have signed the most. But, in their corridors, they do not forget the unsuccessful negotiations with Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland, failures that led them to be a little more discreet in their incorporation and, on the contrary, renew the key players of the project.

In the white entity they enjoy good economic health, but they have spent 80 million euros on a single player, the Frenchman Aurélien Tchouaméni, from Monaco in Ligue 1. This, because the German Antonio Rudiger was signed free after the conclusion of his contract with the project directed by the German Tomas Tuchel.

Touchaméni, 22, will play the next six seasons as a merengue, after sounding out offers from other teams such as Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain himself. In the last season, he played 50 games in all competitions, including the Champions League and Europa League, adding five goals and three assists.

“As soon as Madrid left, I told my agent to close that deal. There were other negotiations, but the first option was Real Madrid. I wrote to my agent and told him: do everything possible to take me there, please", said the French midfielder in statements compiled by Sporting News.

Rudiger, in turn, was the first official signing of the merengue team for the 2022-23 season. The former Chelsea and the German National Team arrived to play in the white team for four seasons until 2026. At 29 years old he makes the big leap after having played in his country's Stuttgart, Italy's Roma and finally in 'The Blues' of the Premier League.