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Barcelona will have to sell in order to strengthen squad

17:27 BST 13/05/2021
Sergio Busquets Barcelona 2020-21
The Catalans are more than €50m over their allowance and will be required to cut costs if they wish to be active in the transfer market

Barcelona have no choice but to sell or otherwise lighten their bloated wage burden if they hope to strengthen their squad in the upcoming transfer window. 

The Catalans are keen to invest this summer as they face the possibility of another season without the Liga or Champions League titles, although they did get their hands on the Copa del Rey crown. 

But given the financial constrictions caused by Covid-19 and the club's contractual commitments, that may prove a tall order. 

Salary limits 

Each season, La Liga sets a salary cap for all of its competing clubs, a figure which is calculated considering factors such as revenues, costs and debts and differs from team to team.

Barca, who made a loss for the 2019-20 season due to the reduction of income owing to the pandemic, are among the league's hardest-hit sides. 

They will be permitted to spend €347 million (£298m/$419m) on salaries, according to the latest Liga figures, compared to €383m in 2020-21 and €671m over the previous season.

The club's salary burden was already above Liga and UEFA limits prior to the pandemic, and they will need to cut that number substantially in order to operate in the transfer market. 

What is covered in the cap?

The salary cap covers all fixed and variable payments to players and coaching staff in clubs' first and B teams, as well as bonuses, social security, signing-on fees and transfer fees. 

The latter are calculated pro rata over the full term of a player's contract and include the full cost of the transfer, including formation rights and agent fees: so Antoine Griezmann, for example, who cost Barcelona €135m upon arriving from Atletico Madrid, represents a burden of €27m to the club's salary cap for each of the five years of his contract. 

Between Griezmann, Miralem Pjanic (15), Frenkie de Jong (17,2), Philippe Coutinho (31,5) and Ousmane Dembele (24) alone the club has €115m on its books, more than a third of the total salary cap and not even including those five players' wages. 

A need to sell 

In total Barca are currently more than €50m over La Liga limits, and while the league will not penalise non compliant teams due to a moratorium in place this season that figure would be deducted from their salary cap next year if it is not reduced, further restricting the Catalans' ability to sign new players. 

If the club wishes to reinforce, even in the case of free transfers such as that of Sergio Aguero, selling players and reducing that deficit is a necessity at Camp Nou. 

Lucrative transfers such as their reported approach for Erling Haaland, meanwhile, appear almost impossible unless several big names are pushed through the exit door this summer.

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