Gerard Piqué can prevent Joan Laporta from having to activate the fourth lever

Barcelona52 million euros. This is the gross amount that, according to the ARA from the Barça board, the club has committed to Gerard Piqué for the 2022/2023 season. The original reason for this high figure is the millionaire contract that the central government agreed with the government of Josep Maria Bartomeu until 2022 and that later, already in the pandemic, it updated until 2024 with a series of deferrals included. However, there is another added reason that is also decisive: the salary gesture that the player offered last summer, already with Joan Laporta in the Camp Nou box office, so that the entity could register Memphis and Eric Garcia for the premiere of the League. That move, based on a small resignation and a large postponement worth more than 70% of what he planned to collect, generated a fair play great for registering new signings. But it wasn’t free; now you have to start paying.

It is in this context that the meeting that Laporta and the Blaugrana sports leadership held this week with Piqué and his representative, Arturo Canales, is framed. The aforementioned 52 million weighs on the club’s salary bag and it is imperative to reformulate them so as not to be hurt. The footballer is determined to stay despite the carats of competition that have fallen to him in recent weeks – Kounde and Christensen – and from the economic area they are urging him to make another concession in the form – this time yes – of a reduction because his conditions fit Mateu Alemany’s containment paradigm and the importance he will have this year under the orders of Xavi Hernández, who warned him at the beginning of the summer that he would play less. The player embodied this idea during the tour of the United States, in which Piqué played two substitute games against Madrid and Juventus and only half a game with Red Bull in New York. Sources in the dressing room point out that he is “better” from the problems he has been having with his pubic bone since the end of last year, but they doubt he can keep up with a competitive pace with two games a week. “Also, it has a lot of competition,” they insist.

Of the three captains with cracking conditions, the Barcelona defender is the only one who sees his leading role seriously threatened. He cannot say the same as Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, who will start the campaign again with the starting lineup. In his case, the sporting argument is completely in line with the economic need, which, on the one hand, happens to build fair play without the need to activate more levers and, on the other hand, due to the board’s order to lower the wage bill to 400 million euros. In a way, Piqué is like Frenkie de Jong: his importance in the plans of the technicians does not justify his salary. That’s why both he and the Dutch midfielder have already been clearly told that if they want to keep the box office in Sant Joan Despí they will have to make an effort. With Busquets, Alba and Ter Stegen there are also pending talks to review their inherited contracts, but with them the negotiating power is lower: they are still holders. Also, in the case of the captain there is a problem of time. His commitment expires in 2023 and he has no intention of extending it, complicating another deal to defer amounts.

The fourth lever, in the freezer

The redefinition of the oversized contracts that Bartomeu signed with some players is the hardest and most capricious part of Barça’s fight to achieve salary margin and reduce sports spending. In the absence of confirmation from the League, the Camp Nou offices know that the management’s interpretation of the first two levers – that of the television rights transferred to Sixth Street – is below that made by the club’s auditors , and that the activation of the third lever – that of the first 24.5% of Barça Studios – also does not allow the five signings and renewals of Sergi Roberto, Dembélé, Araujo and Gavi to be registered. Barça has secured the sale of another 25% of the audiovisual production company, but will not execute it at the moment, as it wants to make the most of it until the start of the League to see if it can generate enough savings in terms of fair play only with sales and sales. And in this fight the focus is mainly on two footballers: De Jong, whose departure could mean a definitive attempt to sign Bernardo Silva, and Piqué, a captain in low hours because his chair has been moved but with enough self-love to motivate yourself and compete with the youth around you.

Azpilicueta will not play for Barça

In the middle of the race to register new players in the League, Barça already knows that César Azpilicueta is tired of waiting. The Navarrese full-back was a clear request from Xavi Hernández to strengthen the defense, but the demands of Chelsea, who asked for almost 10 million to get rid of their captain, have finally frustrated the operation. Azpilicueta will renew as a blue and will give up the dream of playing under Xavi, who will now have to redefine his defensive needs. The Blaugrana coach values ​​having Kounde and Araujo play on the sides, he does not rule out the arrival of Iñigo Martínez and puts all the meat on the grill to bring Marcos Alonso, Chelsea’s left back, to give competition to Jordi Alba.


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