Financial headline news is hardly what Barcelona fans would have wanted to read this summer after the Spanish giants have been embroiled in monetary struggles across the last 12-18 months, but the hits just keep on coming for the Catalonians after it was discovered that Barça handed-out contract extensions that exhibited signs of criminality.
The ever-reliable Reshad Rahman has followed events closely this evening, relaying reports that the legal team of the club’s new regime under Joan Laporta discovered criminality in the October 2020 contract extensions that were handed out to Gerard Piqué, Marc-André ter Stegen, Frenkie de Jong, and Clément Lenglet.
The situation as of three hours ago was that Piqué, a former pupil at La Masia before returning to Barcelona in 2008 after four years with Manchester United, was the only player of the four to agree to reach an agreement regarding voiding his current contract and rolling back to his terms pre-October 2020, or, at the very least, to take a serious pay cut in order to aid the club in righting the ship this summer.
Since then it has been reported that Piqué and the club were in negotiations over a new contract that would include a “drastic” salary reduction and would last for the next two seasons until 2024.
With Piqué amenable to hashing out new terms in order to push the club into some financial breathing room, it could put Barcelona on the road to being able to register their cadre of summer signings as well as the handful of contract extensions that were handed out to Ousmane Dembélé and Sergi Roberto.
In combination with the fourth financial lever, Piqué's newly structured deal will see Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessié, Andreas Christensen, and Jules Koundé finally listed as senior squad members at the Camp Nou for 2022-23, while the impending move for Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso could also be set to go ahead pending league approval.
The financial constraints could be lifted further after one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Memphis Depay could leave this summer after the continued reinforcement through the transfer market in conjunction with Dembélé's contract renewal and the return of Ansu Fati to fitness means there is an overload in the forward options under club boss Xavi.
Per Goal’s Romeo Agresti, Depay’s representatives have already offered his services to Italian giants Juventus, who are said to be evaluating the possibility of making a move for the 28-year-old Dutch international forward.
Should all puzzle pieces finally fall where they are intended, Barcelona could be primed to mound a very serious title challenge in La Liga this season while also being a potential dark horse favorite for a run in the Champions League.