Barcelona still hoping for Coutinho, Umtiti & Pjanic sales in €200m cost-cutting exercise

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The Liga giants are looking to get big earners off their books while also reaching agreements to lower the salaries of other first-team stars

Barcelona are piecing together a €200 million (£170m/$235m) cost-cutting exercise at Camp Nou, Goal has learned, with the Liga giants still hoping to part with big earners such as Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic.

Joan Laporta has been divulging more information on the state of the club’s finances, with debts in excess of €1 billion (£849m/$1.18bn) posted at the start of the year.

Those struggles have already resulted in Lionel Messi walking away from Catalunya , with no new contract put in place with a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, and further efforts are being made to help stabilise the club.

What is the plan at Barcelona?

Barca’s board of directors have drawn up plans that will help to shave €200m off an eye-watering wage packet, with football director Mateu Alemany charged with the task of getting that ball rolling.

Months of hard work behind the scenes have already been put in by Laporta and Co since they returned to the club and inherited the mess left behind by predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Central to this new process is the delicate matter of balancing the books by negotiating salary reductions.

Laporta believes that proposal can be applied to the entire workforce at Camp Nou and has said of a testing time for all concerned: “Our salaries represent 103 per cent of the club’s total income. That’s 20-25 per cent more than our competitors.

“The first thing we had to do when we arrived was to ask for a loan of €80m because otherwise, we could not pay the salaries. The previous regime was full of lies.”

He went on to say, with the hope being that bonus agreements can either be delayed or annulled: “The idea is to restructure everything, with the entire squad. 

“In 19-20 they already had a reduction due to Covid-19. Now they have been asked for a second effort and the first reaction was a surprise.”

President’ Pique comes to Barcelona’s rescue

Messi was prepared to reduce his salary before it became clear that an agreement to keep him on Barca’s books would be impossible.

Since he departed for Paris Saint-Germain, Gerard Pique has led by example in the dressing room and agreed to cut his wage packet – allowing summer signings Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay to be registered.

Laporta and Alemany hope that gesture will have a “knock-on effect”, with other prominent members of the squad treading a similar path.

Pique has suggested that will be the case, with fellow ‘captains’ Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba expected to do their bit for the good of a collective cause by agreeing to delay or waive various bonuses and contract clauses.

Will sales be sanctioned?

The easiest way to free up funds and space would be to get players out of the door.

The rescue plan will still rely on costs being cut elsewhere, but offloading those on the fringes of the first-team fold will help to speed the entire process up.

Three players continue to top Barca’s ‘for sale’ chart, with the hope being that suitors can be found for Coutinho Umtiti and Pjanic.

That trio were all handed lucrative deals by Barca’s previous leadership regime and are proving tricky to shift.

The summer window will, however, remain open until August 31 and it could be a late flurry of activity allows the Blaugrana to dump some deadweight and leave everyone feeling a little more positive about the long-term outlook.

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