Joan Laporta has other priorities before renewing Xavi Hernández

BarcelonaJoan Laporta’s Barça announced a few days ago, 18 months after the elections, the name of its sporting director. Jordi Cruyff put in the office of the Barcelona executive president after signing a contract to occupy a position that, with different denominations, had been defended by Éric Abidal and Ramon Planes at the end of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s government. It was only a matter of time before the institution updated its relationship with the Dutchman, who returned to Camp Nou in August 2021 as “director of scouting international” but in fact, and especially after the resignation of Planes, he had more weight in the decisions regarding the first team. Redefining his contract was on Laporta’s agenda. He has now consolidated his association with the club to the point that his contract does not have a set duration, as is often the case with sporting positions.

Cruyff’s fit has arrived after Barça have reached a kind of base camp after a frenetic summer in which almost all objectives have been achieved thanks to the indispensable power of economic levers. The team has improved its performance with the signings of Lewandowski, Kounde and Raphinha and it was finally possible to close the renewal of Gavi, who in 12 months has quadrupled his market value. Only the salary cuts of the captains and De Jong and Ter Stegen, beneficiaries of oversized contracts which, in combination with the new signings, caused the fair play of the League was saved thanks to a personal guarantee from Laporta and Olivé and they place the wage bill still above the recommended thresholds. With no more levers to activate beyond BLM, it is imperative to oxygenate the sports bill. That is why there are scheduled meetings with De Jong and Ter Stegen while the participation of Piqué is limited, who will be free if he does not play 35% of the games.

In Mateu Alemany’s agenda there is, for now, no definite hole to deal with the renewal of Xavi Hernández and his coaching staff, who arrived at Barça in a context of sporting urgency and economic ruin in November 2021, after the dismissal of Ronald Koeman, which involved an extraordinary expenditure of 12 million, and an arduous negotiation with Al-Sadd, who charged five million to release their coach. “We don’t have anything planned in this regard”, they dispatch from the board of Laporta, where the priority is to reduce the indentation of the contracts inherited from the previous directive. In addition, thestaff of the first team signed until 2024, which mitigates the emergency. Sources in the dressing room consulted by the ARA admit that the conditions of the coaching staff are “the same” as were agreed a year ago: around four million gross to be distributed between Xavi and the professionals who came with him. Nevertheless, there is calm and conviction that “if the ball goes in” and the titles arrive, there will also be an upward review of emoluments that compensates for the initial effort, in November 2021, to terminate the agreement with Qatar and sign with a Barça that had exceeded the salary limit.

To make the leap to the Camp Nou, Xavi valued the intangibles in relation to what he perceived at Al-Sadd and had to scratch the budget to count on his trusted collaborators, who also accepted some conditions in the down in exchange for working at Barça. Months later, I miss him and his staff they also understood that, more than their particular situation, it was essential to devote financial resources to strengthening the workforce. And now they are aware that without results there will be no improvement. “We have to work for it before we deserve it,” says one of those interested. However, the big clubs in Europe know that the Blaugrana coaching staff is below average in terms of conditions. This is demonstrated by the fact that some of its members have had alternative proposals. Of the Premier, specifically. And in higher economic terms than they have at the moment. Offers that, they explain, have been declined “out of loyalty to Xavi and the project that is just beginning”.

Outside the top 5 of the League

The Valais coach trains one of the most expensive squads on the continent, but he is far from being part of the top 5 of the best paid technicians in the League. The ranking is opened by Cholo Simeone, coach of Atlético de Madrid since 2011, with a gross annual salary of almost 40 million euros, as revealed a few months ago by the newspaper The Team. He is followed by his Real Madrid counterpart, Carlo Ancelotti, with a salary of almost 12 million gross per year. At a long distance is the third-placed Julen Lopetegui, who pocketed more than seven million gross per year at Sevilla after renewing in January until 2024. The fourth is Manuel Pellegrini, whose contract Betis extended this summer to to place it at just under seven million per year. Unai Emery, consolidated at Villarreal and with a salary of between five and six million gross per season, closes the top 5. The next would be a newcomer to the League, Gennaro Gattuso, with similar amounts to those of the groguet coach, while Xavi’s current position is closer to that of Ernesto Valverde, who has signed with the Athletic Club a contract very conditioned by the objectives, and Imanol Alguacil, which borders the million and a half net annual thanks to the special Basque taxation.


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