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What are the Barcelona 'economic levers'? Financial term & transfer business explained

16:02 BST 27/07/2022
Christensen Raphinha Lewandowski Kessie Barcelona 2022
Barcelona are pulling their economic levers to raise funds and it's a bold move

Barcelona may have strengthened their squad with the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha but they have done it during a period of unprecedented economic struggle at the club.

The Liga giants have splashed the cash on big money moves this summer, all while having no financial strength at present to pull off such big-money moves. The off-season has witnessed the Catalans spend €59m (£50m/$59m) on Raphinha and €50m (£42m/$51m) to sign Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.

Following the departure of Lewandowski to Barcelona, Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann commented, "It's the only club in the world that can buy players without money. It's kind of weird and crazy."

So how did they pull that off? Presenting to you, Barcelona's 'economic levers'.

What are Barcelona's economic levers?

The term 'economic lever' in the context of Barcelona describes a financial action taken in order to alleviate the restrictions brought about by the club's debt situation. Essentially, in order to activate a 'lever', the club partially sells assets in order to bring in revenue.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has helped bring in funds for the club to use in the summer transfer window by pulling 'economic levers' available to the Catalans.

These levers mean profitable yet risky opportunities for the club to raise funds. In Barcelona's case, the club is raising funds by selling their TV and licensing rights for multiple years into the future.

Barcelona officials voted at an EGM in June to permit the sale of a portion of the club's TV rights and part of Licensing and Merchandising (BLM) to reduce their huge debt and raise enough funds to build a strong team for the future.

So, instead of speaking in detail about selling TV rights and other aspects of the club's future business, the euphemistic financial jargon of 'economic levers' is used.

How are Barcelona raising money for transfers?

The Blaugrana posted debts of €1.35 billion (£1.16bn/$1.42bn) in 2021, and to balance their books, Laporta received the green light to sell 49.9 per cent of the club's Licensing and Merchandising (BLM).

So far, Laporta has raised a total of €582m (£495m/$591) by selling 25 per cent of the club's La Liga TV rights for the next 25 years to a global investment firm named Sixth Street.

The club first sold 10 per cent to the firm and brought in around €267m (£229m/$277m). Later, the firm increased their stake with a further 15 per cent, which fetched Barcelona an additional €315m.

The business at Barcelona has also affected several players, including Frenkie de Jong, with many of them listed for a clear-out sale.