What you need to know:
- Barcelona’s vein of attacking riches is one many will envy
Fans of Premier League Top Six rivals are split into three categories. Those who support the division’s two most dominant sides in recent seasons, Manchester City and Liverpool, are in delirium over the razor sharp precision with which their management hierarchies are executing transfer business.
Barcelona have reminded us all of a classic economics lesson. Indebtedness isn’t the same thing as being broke. To the contrary, a high level of debt is most frequently a reflection of economic might.
In case you have forgotten: the world’s most indebted country, the US, is also the globe’s largest economy. This is a lesson the Catalan giants have taken to heart. The more European football’s cognoscenti make noise about Barcelona’s precarious finances, the more the club’s effervescent president Joan Laporta makes new signings.
Andreas Christensen and Frank Kessie were the first to arrive on free transfers this summer despite being offered new contracts by their respective previous clubs.
The Camp Nou club are ruffling feathers in the transfer market left, right and centre to the consternation of European rivals. Bayern Munich were the first to fire a salvo by insisting payment for their record scorer Robert Lewandowski’s transfer must be paid in advance because they’re not sure Blaugrana will be in existence in the next two years.
Then on the day the Polish striker joined Xavi Hernandez’s revolution, the Bavarian giants’boss Julian Nagelsmann publicly questioned how Barca are able to sign so many players when they are €1bn in debt.
Actually belong to a Chelsea FC Fans WhatsApp group in which everyone believes Blaugrana are bullying the west London club. Not content with snatching Christensen and prevailing in the battle of wills over Raphinha, Barca also want skipper Cesar Azpilicueta and Marco Alonso. For free!
This catalogue of events and La Liga president Javier Tebas’ (he who wanted to report PSG to Fifa over Kylian Mbappe’s lucrative new contract) muted response to the Camp Nou cash splurge, begs of a perfectly valid question: what is going on with FC Barcelona?
Joan Laporta is the simple answer. By continually thinking outside the box, Barcelona’s president has somehow raised €600m for the 2022/23 season by selling ten percent of the club’s La Liga television rights over 25 years to a US-based global investment firm Sixth Street Partners and the naming rights to their stadium to Swedish entertainment behemoth Sportify.
The Sportify deal also encompasses the company becoming shirt sponsors. Barca are back with a bang even before banking a single penny from gate collections.
Bookmakers currently rate Real Madrid as slight favourites to win their 36th Liga Santander title ahead of Barcelona. Wouldn’t be surprised if the odds on Blaugrana recapturing the crown they last won in 2019 are slashed ahead of the new season.
A front six of Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres, Ousmane Dembele, Raphinha, Ansu Fati and Memphis Deepay is bound to wreak havoc. Manager Xavi is finally smelling the coffee.