Barcelona are reportedly considering terminating the contracts of Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti, as the Catalan club aims to free up funds to help secure a contract for Argentine master Lionel Messi.
The Barça captain’s contract with the Blaugrana ended on June 30 and so far there has been no news of the signing of a new contract.
Meanwhile, Barcelona president Joan Laporta says a new contract is in the offing for Messi, which is only held back by La Liga’s financial fair play rules.
FootTheBall take a look at the download campaign that is being carried out in the Catalan capital, as Barcelona looks to face the financial burden and the debts in the next season.
DOES BARCELONA WANT TO SHOW THE DOOR TO UMTITI AND PJANIC?
FC Barcelona, one of the elite football clubs in Europe and the world, has been dealing with a financial and economic crisis in the wake of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.
The Catalan club has been famous in recent times for having the most expensive salary bill in Spain, as several A-list footballers such as Coutinho, Umtiti and Pjanic earn hefty weekly salaries.
This, coupled with the fact that the club needs to tie off club legend Messi after the latter’s contract ran out at the end of June, forcing Barcelona to consider terminating the contracts of Samuel Umtiti and Miralem. Pjanic.
But this time, plagued with injuries, the Frenchman did not enter France’s squad for Euro 2020 and is now seen as one of the candidates in Barcelona who are apparently leaving the club.
Pjanic, on the other hand, joined Barcelona last summer from then-Serie A champion Juventus to 60 million euros. The Bosnian started just 6 La Liga games with Barcelona last season, playing the full 90 minutes just once.
Meanwhile, Umtiti has also seen his playing time reduced in Catalonia due to injury problems, but The Frenchman aspires to be part of the Catalans’ starting lineup again before next season begins.
WILL UMTITI AND PJANIC BE VICTIMS OF THE BARCELONA CASH CRUNCH?
Since Joan Laporta assumed the presidency of the Barça squad, there have been doubts about how the Catalans will face the financial debt and the signing of a new contract with Messi.
In hindsight, Barcelona are looking to free up funds to finance the impending contract with Messi, as the Catalans hope to see him play at the Camp Nou.
And with Philippe Coutinho linked to AC Milan as a possible replacement for Hakan Calhanoglu, the Blaugrana hope to consolidate sufficient funds to be able to go ahead with Messi’s contract.
Samuel Umtiti has two years left to execute his contract, while Pjanic has three years before his contract with Barcelona expires in June 2024. The La Liga club will offer compensation packages to both in the coming days.
– Samuel Umtiti (@samumtiti) June 5, 2020
But on the other hand, Umtiti will give up about 35 million euros and Pjanic is expected to lose 50 million euros from the Catalan club.
These sums of money will be used to finance Messi’s contract and to meet the demand for salaries of the new signings of Sergio Agüero, Eric García, Emerson Royal and Memphis Depay.
IS JOAN LAPORTA ON THE RACE THIS TIME IN BARCELONA?
As such, there has been considerable debate about the direction in which the club is headed under Laporta’s leadership.
The Asturian was president of the Blaugrana from 2003 to 2010 when they rose to the top of European club football.
But now Barcelona, at best, looks like a disjointed team that relies heavily on major signings like Agüero and Depay rather than promoting more youth players and tackling the more pressing problem of defensive reinforcements.
The Catalans had the worst defensive record in La Liga last season among the four best teams, conceded a whopping 38 goals in 38 games before finishing third behind champions Atlético de Madrid and archrival Real Madrid.
Last summer also saw a seemingly distraught Messi handing over a transfer request to the club’s leaders in Barcelona in the wake of the Blaugrana’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Bavarian giant Bayern Munich.
Since then, Laporta has replaced Josep Maria Bartomeu as president, but Messi has yet to put pen to paper on a new contract with Barcelona.
The previous contract he signed was in 2017 that was worth 500 million euros, but from now on Messi is still a free agent