FC Barcelona have been able to alleviate their financial woes, at least when it comes to their wage bill for the 2021/22 season. Following a number of last-minute manoeuvres in the final hours of the transfer window, they were able to successfully shave off 145 million euros(£124.5m) from their wage bill.
The savings have helped the club register all their players for this season, but it did not come without major pitfalls. First of all, players were not offloaded fast enough to allow the club the opportunity to balance their books enough to finalise a contract extension with Lionel Messi.
The Argentine was forced to move on, and was quickly picked up by Paris Saint-Germain just days after Barcelona officially announced that they could not afford to sign him.
Apart from Messi's departure, club president Joan Laporta was forced to make numerous other tough decisions. First of all, the club's four captains were all approached about accepting salary deductions. While everyone openly accepted the pay cut, there is no doubt that slashing salaries is not the best way to motivate players.
Following the pay cuts, the Blaugrana went for a handful of last minute moves, including the exit of top earner Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman was sent off on loan to his former club Atletico Madrid, and will be available to help them retain their La Liga title.
Emerson Royal and Junior Firpo were also sold, leaving Barcelona with a lot less talent on the roster than they would ideally want to have.
Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay came in to replace the Messi and Griezmann attacking pair, and while they are good players, they are certainly not the same quality.
The remaining squad is a combinaation of players that fit comfortably within the salary cap, with a far lower regard given towards the players that Ronald Koeman would really need. In other words, savings were prioritised over actual player requirements.
Koeman now has the tough task of making things work, and continuing to challenge for trophies even with a massively modified squad. According to Marca, the club slashed about 30% off their wage bill, which should at least help them get back on the road to financial recovery.