Dn the name of Robert Lewandowski, Joan Laporta did not mention it at all in the three-hour, at times heated, debate. The president of the traditional Spanish football club made it unmistakably clear what the general meeting of FC Barcelona was about late Thursday evening.
“We want to have a strong team again and restructure our finances.” Approval of two million dollar deals proposed by Laporta now significantly leveled.
The financially troubled club, which owes a horrendous 1.35 billion euros to its creditors, is hoping for revenue of around 600 to 800 million euros in the next few weeks. “The future of Barça is now beginning”, headlined the Catalan newspaper “Sport” on Friday. The rival newspaper “Mundo Deportivo” illustrated their report on the front page with a large Lewandowski photo. Laporta saw “new enthusiasm” and cheered: “We will become even bigger as a club.”
The “magic trick” succeeds through a not uncontroversial sale of club assets. The sale of a minority stake of 49.9 percent in Barca Licensing and Merchandising (BLM) and the assignment of a maximum of 25 percent of the TV rights for a maximum of 25 years were approved on Thursday. The first measure should bring in 200 to 300 million euros, the second flush at least 500 to 550 million euros into the empty coffers.
Laporta, who has been in office since March 2021 and came as a “saviour”, drummed up his proposals before the meeting and described the situation of national goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen’s club in the following words: “Barça was dead. Now we are in intensive care . If these measures are approved, we will be discharged from the hospital.” On Thursday evening he also spoke of a “Formula 1 car without petrol”.
In his plans for the future, Laporta is not only relying on the soon to be 34-year-old Pole Lewandowski. According to media reports, he also wants to bring in numerous other top footballers “in order to be able to play for titles again”. The list is long: the Portuguese Rafael Leão (AC Milan) and Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), the Frenchman Jules Koundé (FC Sevilla), the Spaniard Carlos Soler (FC Valencia), the Brazilian Raphinha (Leeds United). ) and Senegalese Kolidou Koulibaly (SSC Napoli).
You have to know: Laporta is under pressure. When he took office, he had promised that he would persuade club legend Lionel Messi to stay and win the title despite the financial misery. He couldn’t deliver. Messi moved to Paris Saint-Germain last summer – and Barça didn’t even come close to winning the title afterwards.
The new rain of money is still not enough to strengthen the team without jeopardizing the restructuring of the finances. That’s why they want to sell professionals this summer who earn a lot and didn’t do so well. The transfer of Dutchman Frenkie de Jong, in which Manchester United are said to be interested, should bring in around 100 million euros. After all, it is about “reviving a dead person,” said Vice President Eduard Romeu, who is responsible for finance.
A few days ago, Romeu also announced a cut in player salaries and a reduction in salary by 160 to around 400 million euros a year. Stars like Ter Stegen and Sergi Busquets should make do with less money. Romeu warned that they would not shy away from terminating contracts either.