Debt-ridden Barcelona are reportedly hoping to cut down on their wage bill this summer with the sale of three first-team players.
Sergi Roberto, Junior Firpo, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba are the ones rumoured to be put up for sale in an exodus at the club, according to Barcelona based Mundo Deportivo.
Ronald Koeman’s side finished third in La Liga last season, behind Real Madrid and champions Atletico Madrid, while also losing to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16.
They did, however, win the Copa del Rey, beating Athletic Bilbao in the final in Seville.
To build on that, they signed former Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia on free transfers, while Lyon’s Memphis Depay is expected to join upon the expiry of his contract at the French club in a move that will reunite him with former national team boss Koeman.
Barcelona have been under great financial strain with rising debts affecting their freedom in the transfer market.
New President Joan Laporta has had the task of cutting costs before he can spend.
Local media reported earlier in the year that the amount of debt had risen to over £1.1billion.
The debt came as a result of poor management from the previous board, led by President Josep Bartomeu, who stepped down from his role in 2020.
Barcelona have the highest expenditure of all La Liga clubs while their wages to turnover ratio is close to 70 percent – a major issue that’s holding them back.
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The Catalan side have spent sums on transfers and players have often underperformed – notable examples being Philippe Coutinho, who moved in January 2018 for an initial £105m.
One of Laporta’s objectives was also to extend Lionel Messi’s contract and keep him at the club for the foreseeable future, which seems likely at this point.
Then there is also the issue of the UEFA investigation due to the club’s involvement in the European Super League along with Real Madrid and Juventus.
Out of the five players reportedly up for sale, two of them, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba, have come through the club’s famed youth academy.
Samuel Umtiti joined in 2016 and had a good spell initially, but recurring knee issues since the 2018 World Cup have made him lose his place at club and international level.
Clement Lenglet, meanwhile, has been a mainstay at the back in recent years, but he is not viewed as an essential member of the team.
As for Junior Firpo, his lack of impact since joining from Real Betis mean that his sale would not affect the first-team too much.
There is a big summer ahead of Barcelona and Joan Laporta, who will be looking to make seismic changes in his first transfer window since returning to the Presidency of the club.
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