Samuel Umtiti will continue to cost Barça money even if he leaves

BarcelonaXavi Hernández is about to start his first pre-season as Barça coach. A week and two from now, the Egarenc technician and his staff they will get to work with the batteries charged after the holidays and the hope of returning the Barça team to the path of success. They would like to have at their disposal the signings they have asked for the squad to have two competitive pieces for each position, but the club’s financial constraints call for patience. The salary cap is everywhere and any input movement (whether modest or ambitious) is conditioned on the activation of the already famous levers. If there is no setback, the first — the sale of a percentage of television rights — will close before June 30 to avoid a year-end loss, but it will take one or two more to turn around the negative equity of the institution, reverse the fair play exceeded and be able to operate with some normality. This is the only recipe for returning to the 1/1 rule, which allows the registration of new files without first being required to make a salary space equivalent to three or four times what you intend to register.

The levers will give Barça oxygen to be able to strengthen, but in the sports area they will have to continue doing their homework to reduce the first team’s salary bill. In fact, this is the first step in being able to build savings and be in a position to think of new things at the level of Robert Lewandowski. That’s why the sale of Frenkie de Jong is so important. Sending the Dutchman to Manchester United in exchange for 100 million euros between fixed and variable, and with the 1/1 rule in hand, Mateu Alemany estimates that he will generate 60 fair play between the capital gain achieved and the salary saved. But the football director wants more. Because, commissioned by the board of Joan Laporta, it has to lower the payroll to 400 million by the end of August and therefore needs more outings. In this sense, Xavi told Samuel Umtiti, Riqui Puig, Óscar Mingueza and Martin Braithwaite a month ago that they were looking for a team. He later did the same with Clément Lenglet, Neto Murara and Miralem Pjanic. However, the clear and meridian message has had no effect. In fact, the feeling in the offices is that most of these seven footballers – all of whom have contracts in force – will appear as if nothing had happened on the medical tests on the 4th.

The dean of this group of outcasts is Umtiti, whom the organization has been trying for more than two years to get rid of without success. Broadly speaking, there are two reasons that have prevented the scoreboard from finding a solution to his ostracism at the Camp Nou. One is his physical condition, conditioned by the chronic injury to his left knee that he has been suffering from just after the 2018 World Cup, which he won with the French national team. And the other, the disproportionate contract he signed before falling into disgrace, a deal until 2023 that made him one of the team’s highest paid. The mixture of these two factors did not allow exploring real output options for Umtiti. Now, however, there is an important nuance that plays in Barça’s favor: the renewal it signed in January until 2026, a 100% economic measure to generate fair play and to be able to register Ferran Torres. With this agreement, the central waived 10% of the base salary and deferred a series of amounts in exchange for a longer contract and a letter of release option from 2023. Meanwhile, the club spaced payments and especially he could offer the player to other teams without being so frightened by his salary.

A collapsed market value

With the market restarted, and after another course marked by injuries, Umtiti is back on the starting ramp. As he explained The Team, the Frenchman has understood that he must leave. However, as ARA has been able to confirm, he does not like the destinies that have been offered to him so far in both Ligue 1 and Italian Serie A. They are teams from the lower half of the standings and he would like not to lose touch with continental competitions. And, most importantly, they are teams that would not exempt Barça from paying a part of the central team’s fee. Nor with the reduction motivated by the deferral agreed in January the club would stop accounting for payments during the 2022/2023 season to a player who has not participated continuously since 2018. There is no contractual engineering that can with the decline in performance of Umtiti, a player who four years ago was valued at 70 million and now, according to the Transfermarkt portal, is worth only 2.



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