Explained: How have cash-strapped Barcelona afforded Raphinha, Kessie & Christensen transfers?

Kessie Raphinha Christensen BarcelonaGetty Images/FC Barcelona

How have supposedly cash-strapped Barcelona managed to sign Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen? They were left with debts in excess of €1 billion following Josep Maria Bartomeu's reign as club president, with Joan Laporta drafted back in for a second term in March 2021 to steady the ship.

He was left with no choice but to sanction the departure of a number of star names last summer in order to reduce the club's wage bill, including seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

The 2021-22 campaign proved to be a turbulent one for Barca as a result, but they are now splashing the cash in the summer transfer window with a view to returning to the top of domestic and European stages next term.

How are Barca still able to complete transfers and contract renewals in 2022 summer window?

Laporta was given permission to sell club assets by the Barca members' assembly last June as they targeted investment funds capable of providing financing so that operations could run as normal in the short term.

Barca successfully sold a first package of financial assets before striking a €207.5 million (£176m/$207m) deal with investment group Sixth Street on June 30, 2022.

The club sold 10 per cent of its La Liga TV rights to the US firm, which ensured that they turned a profit at the end of the 2021-22 financial year - taking a giant step towards reversing their money woes in the process.

Joan Laporta BarcelonaGetty Images

A second economic lever is now being worked on to raise funds so that Barca no longer exceed La Liga's salary limit, with another 15 per cent of their TV rights set to be sold in return for an extra €300m (£254m/$300m).

The Blaugrana are also selling 49.9% of the shares of the Barca Licensing and Merchandising company, which will bring their total revenue for the summer beyond €600m (£509m/$600m) and allow them to register new players for the 2022-23 season.

Kessie and Christensen are among those waiting to be registered, having moved to Camp Nou on free transfers following respective departures from Milan and Chelsea, while Gavi's four-year contract won't be made official until all sales are finalised.

Meanwhile, Sergio Roberto and Ousmane Dembele have both already signed new contracts on significantly reduced wages.

Raphinha deal and player sales

Barca have reached an agreement to sign Leeds United winger Raphinha for €65m (£55m/$65m) - a huge figure for a club that have been supposedly cash-strapped for the past 12 months.

The Brazilian's desire to push through the move was significant during the negotiation process, as he agreed to give payment facilities to the Blaugrana until they close the commercial deals that are so crucial to bringing them back into green on the balance sheet.

Barca are also counting on a number of player sales, with Neto Murara, Samuel Umtiti, Oscar Mingueza, Riqui Puig and Martin Braithwaite all now on the transfer list.

Clement Lenglet has already been offloaded on loan to Tottenham, while the possible departure of higher-profile names is also not being ruled out, including Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay.

Will Barca make any more signings?

Raphinha will be the last new signing through the Camp Nou doors before they receive their full €600m windfall.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta and Sevilla talisman Jules Kounde are also on Barca's wishlist as head coach Xavi seeks to build a squad capable of fighting for the Liga title and Champions League.

Landing those three players would cost the Blaugrana in excess of €100m (£85m/$100m), but a triple coup would be financially viable if they are able to complete the necessary player sales along with their commercial deals.

Barca will have to tread carefully for the foreseeable future, however, with their overall income set to be reduced as a result of selling a portion of their main economic assets.

More lucrative sponsorships deals will be sought, such as the one struck with audio streaming platform Spotify that saw them become the club's main partner, while they will also look to maximise profits from the remodelling of Camp Nou - which is due to be completed in 2026.

Further reading