Because of financial restrictions club didn’t even take profit from winning the Champions League
- Barcelona are trying their best to keep hold of Lionel Messi and Neymar
- But La Liga giants are being crippled financially in attempting to do so
- Club’s wage bill currently stands at unsustainable 73 per cent of revenue
- There is still no sponsor agreed for next season with Qatar Airways’ talks stalling while the Nou Camp sponsorship is also up for grabs
- Success has proven costly in recent seasons too, with every Champions League win meaning a huge pay-out on bonuses to all club staff
- Josep Maria Bartomeu remains adamant that neither Messi or Neymar will be sold but attempts to nail them down to new contracts will be tough
- Club will have find new revenue streams and make cuts elsewhere to do so
- Barca are playing commercial catch-up with the Premier League and could also miss out on Juventus star Paul Pogba, as well as John Stones
Barcelona are being pushed to the absolute limit of their finances as they fight to keep Lionel Messi and Neymar from the clutches of the Premier League.
The club are determined to hold on to their biggest assets despite interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, but they will have to speed through the sale of naming rights for the Nou Camp and drastically reduce their transfer budget to do so.
These are the best of times for the Catalan club on the pitch after winning the Champions League three times in the last six years, and they can hardly be called hard times off it with the club making £482million (€608m) last season. However, a combination of financial headaches have still managed to leave the board nervously pondering how they will keep their two most important players.
Barcelona are trying their best to keep Lionel Messi and Neymar – though it is crippling them financially
Manchester City would have the resources to bring either one to the Premier League
Manchester United are also interested as Barcelona attempt to cope with their financial restrictions
LIONEL MESSI STATS 2015
Barcelona appearances: 48
Barcelona goals: 44
Barcelona assists: 21
NEYMAR STATS 2015-16
Barcelona appearances: 50
Barcelona goals: 41
Barcelona assists: 12
Lionel Messi was named La Liga’s best striker and best player in the 2014-15 season at the LFP awards
Neymar was named best player from the Americas at the awards ceremony on Monday night
The club’s wage bill currently stands at an unsustainable 73 per cent of revenue. That breaks the club’s own self-imposed financial regulations and the board will have to quit in two years if the ratio is not reduced.
There is still no sponsor agreed for next season with negotiations with Qatar Airways having stalled after Barcelona pushed for an increase in the £40m-a-season (€57m-a-season) deal that was signed in 2013 and runs out next year.
Success has proven costly in recent seasons too, with every Champions League win meaning a huge pay-out on bonuses to all club staff. Messi, for example, earns £14.8m (€21m) a year net but his bonuses for winning the treble add £2.8m (€4m) to that total. Barca finished up making a loss from their participation in last season’s tournament despite winning it.
They have a £423m (€600m) stadium renovation to pay for with work set to begin in two years’ time and take seven years to complete.
The Nou Camp will be revamped with capacity increasing to 105,000, a new mini-stadium for the B-team will be built at the club’s out-of-town training ground, and a new Basketball arena will be built on the site of the old mini-stadium.
There is still no sponsor agreed for next season with negotiations with Qatar Airways having stalled
The Nou Camp’s capacity will be increasing to 105,000 but the club are struggling to finance the project
A new mini-stadium for the B-team will be built at the club’s out-of-town training ground and a new Basketball arena will be built on the site of the old mini-stadium
As they look to finance that project, the domestic television deal in Spain remains a long way short of the Premier League package and although Barcelona are, along with Real Madrid, guaranteed to make £99m (€140) in each of the next five years, the club is still playing commercial catch-up with the giants of the Premier League who have their eye on the world’s best two players.
Neither Neymar nor Messi wants to leave Barcelona and president Josep Maria Bartomeu remains adamant that neither will be sold.
But as they go into negotiations over new contracts, representatives of both the Neymar and Messi camps have been reassured that there are other clubs who would have the means and desire to make a move if they were given the encouragement to do so.
Neymar is halfway through the five-year deal he signed in 2013 and the club want to renew his contract now. He earns an estimated £9.9m (€14m) net and to ward-off Premier League predators that figure will need to be taken much closer to top-earner Messi. Neymar’s buy-out clause will also be upped to £176m (€250m) to guard against any bid from Real Madrid.
Messi’s contract also runs out in 2018 and the club plan to offer him a renewal until 2020 within the next three months. His net salary of £14.8m (€21m) will not be touched but bonuses and image rights will be improved.
Barcelona made a loss from their participation in last season’s Champions League despite winning it
The domestic television deal in Spain remains a long way short of the Premier League package
Barcelona will break the bank to keep the pair of them, first and foremost because any board that oversees their sale would have to offer its resignation to angry supporters. But the financial commitment will need to be paid for by finding new revenue streams and making cuts elsewhere.
Barcelona are at a disadvantage as a member-owned club because there is no foreign investment to swell the coffers. While Manchester City can receive huge injections of capital from Abu Dhabi and China, they must look for new ways to generate money.
The club are keen to renegotiate the deal with Nike which earns them between £21m-£24.7m (€30-€35m) a year. But it is not up for renewal until June 2018.
Plans to sell the naming rights to the stadium have been brought forward. An estimated £14m-a-year can be brought in by giving the Nou Camp a commercial ‘surname’ and US sports revenue strategists Van Wagner have been hired to find the right partner for the scheme before October of next year.
In the mean time the club must get back to the negotiating table with Qatar Airways to finalise the new shirt sponsorship deal.
While Manchester City (pictured, owner Sheikh Mansour (centre)) can receive huge injections of capital from Abu Dhabi and China, they must look for new ways to generate money
Plans to sell the naming rights to the Nou Camp have been brought forward and US sports revenue strategists Van Wagner have been hired to find the right partner for the scheme before October of next year
Bartomeu and Marketing vice-president Manel Arroyo were in Doha in October to close what they thought was a £42.2m-a-season agreement but came home empty-handed after the two sides failed to close the deal.
Barcelona were understood to be trying to negotiate a deal in which the training kits did not carry the Qatar Airways name – so freeing up another possible revenue stream with another sponsor.
All this puts huge pressure on the club in the transfer market. The sale of Pedro in the summer for £21.1m was seen as good business and now spending over the next two transfer windows will need to be reigned in.
In January, coach Luis Enrique wants Celta Vigo forward Nolito added to his squad. Arsenal are also interested and if it comes to a straight fight the Gunners will win hands down because Barca can get nowhere near the £12m (€17m) valuation.
Josep Maria Bartomeu (right) remains adamant that neither Messi or Neymar will be sold
Neither can they afford to make a £70.5m (€100m) commitment to Paul Pogba. If Juventus and the player’s agent Mino Raiola hold out for a sum approaching that figure, then he will be bound for the Premier League and not Spain at the end of this season.
Barcelona need a centre-back and John Stones is a target but the financial restraints mean if Everton ask the same amount of money that they asked from Chelsea last summer Barca are unlikely to pay up.
They could take Gerard Deulofeu back for £6.3m (€9m) at the end of this season and then sell him for more to another club or use the player as a bargaining chip to bring down the price of Stones.
What is clear is that the current situation is not sustainable and changes are being made to avoid the unspeakable – sending Messi or Neymar to Manchester.
Barcelona cannot afford to make a big-money commitment to Paul Pogba he may head to the Premier League
Barca may try and tempt Everton into selling John Stones (left) by letting them keep Gerard Deulofeu (right)
Source: Daily Mail