FC Barcelona may have finally found a way to chip away at their massive wage bill that is stopping them from being able to register their new signings and agreeing to a new contract with Lionel Messi. Latest reports suggest that one of the club's top earners, Philippe Coutinho, has attracted the attention of Ligue 1 club Marseille.

The midfielder is part of a lengthy list of players that have been put on the market this summer, as Barcelona attempt to shave off a whopping 200 million euros off their wage bill for next season. They have been able to sell some fringe players, but have not had much luck offloading their bigger assets owing partly to the fact that most clubs also suffered financially during the pandemic. Not only that, everyone is aware of Barcelona's desperation, and not many are willing to meet their valuation of their players.

Barcelona are getting more desperate, but Marseille may be able to help take the Brazilian off their hands. Coutinho's departure will amount to more than 50 million euros in savings for the Catalan giants, which gives them significant headway into their summer mission of freeing up room for Messi's new deal.

The French club are interested but their finances are not exactly sound either. However, they have qualified for the UEFA Champions League next season. That means additional revenue and according to Marca, they want a new big name on their roster.

One of the club's main sponsors is reportedly being tapped to help facilitate Coutinho's transfer, with funds in short supply directly from within the French team's coffers. This kind of move is not unprecedented, with numerous clubs around the world tapping sponsors to fund specific transfers.

Regardless of how the deal will be made, Barcelona management will be happy about this opportunity. They still have the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti on their chopping block and time is starting to run out.

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images