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Has the goodwill towards Barcelona run out?

Barcelona

The secret, to some degree, has been out for a while now regarding Barcelona Football Club’s shortage of funds in the transfer market. However, it has been hard to gauge just how serious the club’s financial position is.

Indeed, every now and again a story will break with the headlines focusing on Barcelona’s level of debt but they always seem to go away as quickly as they arrived with the club’s hierarchy dismissing any idea that they are battling to pay their bills.

Smoke and mirrors

In the past, one has been inclined to take the club’s word that is in fact good and well to pay Lionel Messi’s wages for almost two decades. That illusion however was shattered over the 2022 Summer Transfer Window when Barcelona began negotiating with Bayern Munich over the potential transfer of Polish Striker Robert Lewandowski.

Having seemingly agreed on a fee of £42.5 million for the 33-year-old following the submitting of a fresh bid, Barcelona turned around and told the Bavarians that they could expect the transfer to be paid in instalments. Without blinking, the Germans informed the Barcelona hierarchy in no uncertain terms that they would be paid in full because they were not convinced that the Catalan club would exist in 24 months’ time.

Put another way, Bayern won’t enter into an agreement where Barcelona enjoy the luxury of paying them off over a few years because they’re unconvinced that the La Liga side has a viable business model going forward. Perhaps if we were even blunter and for the sake of total transparency, we could simplify it even further by saying that Bayern strongly suspect that Barcelona will go out of business before they are able to recoup their money for Lewandowski.

With this jarring image in mind, perhaps it’s wise to also make allowance for a typically uncompromising attitude from the Germans when they conduct their transfer dealings and to not head down to the Nou Camp just yet to see if they’ve started a car boot sale. In addition to that, we know that Barcelona currently owe over £120 million in transfer fees to 19 different clubs.

In this sense, the Bavarians’ short shift during the transfer negotiations is easier to understand as they naturally don’t want to be out of pocket, and would insist on Barcelona fronting up all the cash so that they aren’t hanging around waiting to be paid like nearly two dozen other clubs around the world currently are.

As it turns out, Leeds United adopted the same resolute tone when it emerged that Barcelona were the favourites to sign Raphinha and played hardball with the Catalan club before they eventually relented and paid the Whites the £50 million they were asking for the Brazilian.

A good opinion once lost, is lost forever

With this in mind, you can better appreciate why clubs are becoming increasingly wary of doing business with Barcelona. There are, however, still a few dots that seem impossible to connect. In particular, no one can account for the fact that the Nou Camp outfit have over £1.2billion worth of debt and still continue to spend exorbitant sums of money on players like Raphinha and Lewandowski. Essentially, how are they getting away with this and how long can this willful neglect for the consequences of tomorrow carry on?

If one had to guess what the strategy for Barcelona currently is, it does appear as if the club are trying to assemble one of the best teams in Europe in order to cash in on the lucrative Mastercard Champions League TV rights deals that are paid out the further a team gets in the competition.

However, at 16/1 in the latest football betting as of the 14th of July, Xavi’s charges are far from being the favourites to win the competition which once again, suggests that Barca aren’t accounting for an early exit from the tournament, which obviously can happen.

Should they be dumped out in the group stage or even round of 16, then it seems unlikely that the new Spotify deal they signed will be enough to fund the club in the seasons that follow.

This is where the German champions’ transfer hesitancy comes from and indeed other teams who have assessed Barcelona’s foundations for success over the coming seasons and have ultimately decided that they don’t want any part of it owing to the fact that it has been built on sand.

Indeed, the goodwill towards one of the most respected and wealthiest clubs in the world has completely dried up.

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