One particularly baffling subplot of the current transfer window has been Barcelona’s relentless pursuit of numerous top stars, despite the team’s reported eye-watering debt. According to multiple media outlets, the Catalonians have €1.3bn in debt. Admittedly, the club is in a slightly better position than last year as they have sold 10% of their La Liga TV rights for €207.5m and signed a record-breaking sponsorship deal with Spotify worth €280m across the next four years.
But, despite the recent influx of cash, the club are still well and truly in the red, and this couldn’t be summarised any better than by the ongoing Frenkie De Jong saga. The Dutch playmaker has been courted by Manchester United all summer, and the former Ajax man is open to the move. The problem is that the Blaugrana are said to owe De Jong around €20m in unpaid wages and, naturally, the 25-year-old isn’t willing to give that up. And can you blame him? Especially when the club are still signing new players.
AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and Chelsea’s Danish centre-back Andreas Christensen have both headed to Camp Nou on free transfers. But, even though the club hasn’t paid a transfer fee, both stars are said to be on big-money contracts. One man who has cost a fee is Leeds United’s Brazilian winger Raphinha, whose arrival from Elland Road was confirmed on Wednesday in a deal worth as much as €70m. And those arrivals are thought to be a mere drop in the ocean, with the spending spree set to continue. The players listed below are also being tipped to join Xavi’s revolution in coming weeks.
Last year’s FIFA Men’s Player of the Year, Robert Lewandowski has made his feelings about leaving Bayern Munich abundantly clear. If you’d heard that the Polish captain would be leaving Germany’s record 32-time champions – who won the last ten Bundesligen in a row – we’d have laughed at you.
The scoring sensation has netted a mammoth 344 goals in 375 games since joining on a free from Borussia Dortmund in 2014. He’s second on the Bavarian club’s all-time top scorer list behind the legendary Gerd Müller and has won the German top-flight in every season he’s spent at the Allianz Arena.
But in the current close-season, that special relationship shared between player and club has soured. Lewandowski’s reaction after Bayern’s final game of the domestic season suggested that the end could be near, and his explosive interviews since that day have only added fuel to the fire.
Despite the 132-time Poland international now being 33 years old, Julian Nagelsmann is said to want as much as €60m for the star striker, and eyebrows will be raised if Barcelona can somehow find that amount of cash.
Another one of the world’s elite being linked with a move to Catalonia is Manchester City’s creative diamond Bernardo Silva, and the figures that are being bandied around beggar belief. Spanish outlet Sport.es have indicated that Pep Guardiola values his Portuguese playmaker at €100m, but it’s thought that Barcelona are only willing to pay €60m for the attacking midfielder’s services.
Since his arrival in England from Monaco for €50m five years ago, he has gone from strength to strength, providing 98 goal involvements in almost 250 appearances. The 27-year-old has proven that he is without a doubt a world-class player and, in the current market, is probably worth closer to City’s valuation than Barça’s, but it does make one wonder where exactly the Spanish club are finding the money.
Those two previously mentioned aren’t the only players that have been linked with a move to Camp Nou as the 26-time La Liga champions look to flesh out their squad to cope with the huge amount of matches played in the modern schedule.
Chelsea’s out-of-contract Spanish duo Marcos Alonso and captain Cesar Azpilicueta are both said to be eyeing up a move to Eastern Spain. Wolves’ central-midfielder Ruben Neves is also on Xavi’s shortlist, and it remains to be seen how many of those stars will end up joining.
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