BarcelonaMateu Alemany is a businessman and, as a good executive, he does not get carried away by emotions. For this reason, when he saw that he could agree with Atlético de Madrid on the sale of Memphis, he did not hesitate. The director of football at Barça continues to have the mission of obtaining income from the sale of players and of reducing the wage bill, objectives that he has been fulfilling in the almost two years that he has been in office, although they have not yet been sufficient so that the club has reached a situation of stability.
For this reason, and despite some internal criticism for continuing to do business with the mattress makers – part of the board did not want it because they considered that they had already had enough of their hair with the Griezmann case -, Alemany thought that the departure of the Dutchman I would love to be able to register Gavi. In fact, they did numbers and adapted the figures of the operation in this regard. What Alemany did not expect is that the League would say no. That the margin achieved is still not sufficient.
The management’s decision, announced this week at the Camp Nou, fell like a bucket of cold water on the offices, where they already knew that Gavi could be registered imminently. Also in the dressing room, where Xavi has found himself having lost two pieces (Memphis and Gerard Piqué, retired in November) with nothing in return. Thus, in the eyes of the League, the midfielder remains constant as a footballer of the subsidiary and cannot yet wear number 6 – currently he still wears 30-. However, from Barça they are not throwing in the towel and are continuing to work with the aim of closing this registration. “We have been doing the numbers for days and Mateu is working very hard on this. We trust that it will be possible,” points out one of the sources consulted, linked to Barça’s economic area.
Gavi renewed his contract with Barça in mid-September, with a notable salary increase, and signed until 2026 with a €1 billion buyout clause. However, both this contract and Araujo’s – which he signed in the summer with similar conditions – are pending validation by the League. A kind of parallel reality where the document that binds the players to Barça until 2026 and the regulations of the employers’ association that, for the moment, prevent them from playing for Blaugrana beyond this 2023 coexist. That is, the League validated at the time the contracts they had as athletes of the subsidiary and which allowed them to play until the end of this year. The new document, as Barça is over the salary limit, cannot be formalized until the club has generated enough margin. It is here, looking for the gap, where Mateu Alemany is right now.
The goal of renewing Gavi and Araujo despite not being able to register them
It may seem strange that Barça renewed a footballer knowing that they could not yet register him. But, according to club sources consulted by the ARA, the reason behind it is purely sporting: to retain the player for legal purposes. Without the renewal, Gavi and Araujo would have finished their contracts in 2023 and would be free to sign with any other club – in accordance with FIFA regulations. Having renewed, this possibility disappears.
The League, in its regulations on the salary cap, also allows room for this double game to be played. “A renewal or a signing must not be registered immediately but when the club deems it appropriate”, say the employer. The only thing that counts is time. Gavi and Araujo must be enrolled in the summer. Otherwise, Barça will not have been able to fulfill their part of the deal and the footballers will be able to terminate the agreement unilaterally. In this waiting period, Gavi and Araujo can play normally until the end of the season, receiving what they agreed with the Catalan club when they renewed.
The sale of Memphis, then, is not giving the result that was expected in the offices. Between the salary margin that has meant his exit and the money that the club saves with Piqué, retired from football before Christmas, there would only be room to register Gavi this campaign, but not for the following ones. The midfielder is first in line to be registered, and Araujo will come after. Barça sources, however, guarantee that the two registrations will be completed, deny that there is nervousness in the environment of the footballers and assure that both will remain at the Camp Nou “for many years”.
Meanwhile, the Blaugrana treasury continues to do the numbers to start preparing for a season, 2023/24, which will be particularly delicate due to the move to Montjuïc and the economic consequences that this will entail – a drop in income is expected. The sale of a part of BLM to achieve extraordinary income and the sale of an outstanding footballer of the first team to make a drawer, are the two bullets they have in the back room.