Eric Garcia was “all tied up,” they stated, however someway he escaped. “Garcia: OK,” Barcelona stated. “Garcia: now,” they stated. “Garcia: finished,” they stated. A bit like that they had stated, “Neymar: OK,” “Neymar: now,” and “Neymar: finished.” The Brazilian had been coming just about every single day for months, right up to the day when he didn’t. After which, they stated, he was nonetheless coming. The window shut, however they did not shut up; they carried on regardless.
They’d stated Lautaro Martinez was coming, too. You may need seen that he did not, both. They’d stated the selection was between Neymar and Lautaro, when the fact was that Barcelona did not have any alternative, they usually did not have both of them. They did not even have Memphis Depay. And so it went, over and over and over. This week it was Garcia, however it was additionally David Alaba. It was Jose Gaya and Marcos Alonso. They had been “candidates,” they stated.
Which was no less than true: candidates for his or her entrance pages.
Studying the Catalan sports activities papers El Mundo Deportivo and Sport this week — and final week, and the week earlier than, and the weeks and months earlier than that — it was straightforward to be reminded of one other second’s illumination from the good thinker of our age, the person who foresaw every little thing. “This,” Homer Simpson tells Lisa, sitting on the kitchen desk, that morning’s “US of A At this time” in his fingers, “is the one paper in America that is not afraid to inform the reality: that every little thing’s simply high quality.”
This week, Marca splashed their entrance web page with a declaration of Barcelona’s monetary scenario, the punning headline roughly translating as “bottomless pit.” An financial black gap had opened up. Barcelona’s scenario was, it stated, “dramatic.” There was a “haemorrhage,” a “disaster.”
Ah, some stated, effectively in fact: that is Marca, the residing embodiment of what Pep Guardiola known as the “Madrid milk board” — media accused of being on the behest of Real Madrid and, particularly, their president, Florentino Perez. Marca, they suspected, had been taking the possibility to bounce on Barcelona’s grave. To make it out to be a grave within the first place, in reality.
They in all probability had some extent. Expertise tells everybody that. It is price noting that nearly all of Europe’s large golf equipment have enormous money owed for the time being. The pandemic has hit everybody onerous. It is also true that few had been swift to notice the figures coming from Actual Madrid. If Barcelona’s complete debt is €1.173 billion and their web debt €488 million, Madrid’s is €901m and €355m, respectively. Hardly small change, both.
However the figures, quietly and unexpectedly launched this week, usually are not some invention. They’re Barcelona’s personal. And, effectively, take a look at that quantity once more: €1.173 billion.
Everybody knew that Barcelona’s monetary scenario was unhealthy; it has been reported repeatedly. Every part that has occurred prior to now yr or so — sure, even pre-pandemic — has pointed at it. However seeing it in black and white was nonetheless fairly stunning, and give it some thought: the truth that it occupied a entrance web page in Madrid however not in Barcelona is fairly stunning, too. As was seeing it performed out over the potential signing of Garcia.
And that is the opposite factor to notice right here: All these headlines, all these tales, all these large names supposedly on their means — do not make the error of pondering that every one these are purely invented by the media, of pondering it is not what they had been informed or that it is what individuals need to hear, nonetheless a lot the urge grows to seize them and shout: You. Cannot. Signal.
Every part’s not simply high quality: over a billion euros in debt; wages accounting for 74% of the finances; a short-term debt of €720m; €186m in amortisations; a €488m loss in 2019-20; the necessity, someway, to boost virtually €200m this summer time alone; a detrimental working capital of €602m; a protracted checklist of gamers to be paid for.
That checklist of gamers, by the best way, makes for grim studying: €40m on Philippe Coutinho, €48 on Frenkie de Jong, €9.8m on Francisco Trincao, €52m on Miralem Pjanic (who solely got here as an act of monetary engineering within the first place), €8m on Arthur (the person they offered whereas signing Pjanic, purely to carry the books in line), €6m on Emerson (who hasn’t even arrived but), €10.14m on Malcolm (who’s been and gone). They nonetheless owe Bayern Munich for Arturo Vidal and Eibar for Marc Cucurella, and on it goes.
Sure, they’re owed €46m by different golf equipment too — though think about in the event that they default — however they owe €126m.
This week, Carlos Tusquets — the interim president who would not appear too eager on the “interim” bit — stated that he was in favour of signing Garcia now. Ronald Koeman is, too. And so Tusquets known as the presidential candidates — Victor Font, Toni Freixa and Joan Laporta, with the club’s presidential election occurring on March 7 — to get their OK earlier than going forward, as a result of the monetary scenario doesn’t permit them to take choices like this evenly. (In fact, Tusquets should not be taking them in any respect.)
A battle performed out. Font stated sure, Freixa stated signal him now however for subsequent season when he will likely be free, Laporta stated no. Tusquets and Laporta exchanged accusatory letters, the latter already aggravated that elections had been postponed from their initially scheduled Jan. 24 date. However past that there’s something very primary:
Garcia’s price is €3m, plus doubtlessly one other €3m in add-ons. He would price Barcelona simply €230,000 on this yr’s finances, Tusquets insisted. But it surely now seems to be prefer it will not occur.
Strip away the opposite components — whether or not this president ought to signal anybody, how he can suggest a deal that postpones funds when that is a part of what has put them on this mess within the first place, the pursuits of every of the candidates, why they’d spend what would possibly quantity to €6m for six months on a 20-year-old defender they will get anyway — and that is the underside line: Barcelona can’t simply signal a participant for €230,000.
The brand new president should restructure the money owed. He could have to hunt new ones for short-term stability. They may go — once more — to banks and funding funds. This summer time, they should promote — extra headlines — and promote large. And but if there’s one factor that makes promoting onerous, it is having to promote — and everybody realizing it. It may be troublesome sufficient saving on wages, not to mention creating wealth again. They’ve been right here earlier than.
Shaka Hislop marvels at Pedri’s rise at Barcelona and faucets the 18 yr previous for a breakout yr in 2021.
As one agent put it final summer time, “If I used to be an enormous European membership, I would wait till the deadline for Barcelona’s accounts after which make a laughably small bid for his or her gamers; they’d have virtually no alternative and would possibly chew.” Nelson Semedo raised €40m, it’s true, however Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, all of them left; Barcelona made simply €1.5m up entrance. Coutinho did not go in any respect. Nor did Lionel Messi. Economically, him doing so would have suited them, Tusquets admitted.
They’re going to attempt once more with Coutinho. Antoine Griezmann, too, possibly Ousmane Dembele. Anybody they’ll, briefly. However whereas the excellent news is the standard of the brand new technology — any membership would like to have De Jong, Pedri, Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo, Sergino Dest — it will not be straightforward. And signing gamers will likely be even tougher. Simply because it was final yr: no Lautaro, no Depay, no Neymar.
As Messi put it: “How are they going to pay for him?” How will you purchase Neymar when even €230,000 makes you suppose twice? How unhealthy should issues be?
Dangerous? Every part’s simply high quality.