Barcelona have told Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic that they will be leaving the club this summer and are prepared to offload both players for free.
Club officials are on a mission to drastically cut their wages, which have risen well over Barcelona’s allotted salary cap from La Liga, in an attempt to make renewing the contract of Lionel Messi somewhat easier.
Matheus Fernandes has seen his contract terminated and Francisco Trincao has joined Wolves on loan with an option to buy, but Barcelona know they still have much work left to do to trim their budget. According to Mundo Deportivo, they are preparing to take drastic measures.
The unwanted duo of Umtiti and Pjanic have both been made available for transfer this summer, but because no teams are prepared to reach their enormous wage demands, Barcelona are happy to let them both walk for free just to get them off the books.
Pjanic, who joined from Juventus for the best part of £60m in a book balancing exercise that saw Arthur Melo go in the other direction just 12 months ago, is open to leaving and has been linked with Inter and PSG. If he leaves for free, we might have a new contender for the worst transfer of all time on our hands.
On the other hand, Umtiti has rejected the chance to find himself a new club. He wants to stay at Barcelona and prove himself, and for the third consecutive summer, does not seem to be taking the hint that he is no longer wanted.
Nevertheless, Barcelona are determined to finally get Umtiti’s salary off the books and will look across the globe for buyers, in the hope that one of them will offer the oft-injured centre-back the kind of signing-on bonus that he will not be able to turn down.
Their squad cull is expected to continue after those two players are dealt with, with Barcelona open to letting most of their unwanted fringe players depart on free transfers just to free up some extra money.
There are no mentions of extra names, but you have to think someone like Philippe Coutinho falls into this bracket.
If this isn’t mental enough, Barcelona are ready to threaten their players into leaving the club by promising to freeze them out for the entire season if they don’t leave, which is hardly ideal before a World Cup.
Ousmane Dembele has been hit with that promise if he does not either sign a new deal or agree to leave, and plenty of other players could soon be on the receiving end of that lovely proposal.