How Barcelona should slash €200m from wage budget in order to re-sign Lionel Messi

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Barcelona’s finances are in a sorry state, and they need to sell a number of players this transfer window.

Hang on, this all sounds very familiar…

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Oh yeah! That’s right, Barça pretty much put their whole squad on the transfer list following their 8-2 humiliation by Bayern Munich last summer. They managed to offload Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Luis Suarez, Nelson Semedo and Rafinha, but they’re still in disarray.

Because of La Liga’s salary cap rules, Barcelona now need to free up €200m (£170m) from their wage bill in order to register any of their new signings – and that includes current free agent Lionel Messi.

Players are going to need to take pay cuts across the board and there are going to be some tough calls for club president Joan Laporta to make this transfer window. Luckily for him, I’ve made some of them for him, even without reliable sources to tell me how much these players actually make. No need to thank me, Joan!

Here are the players Barça need to sell in order to re-sign Messi and register the likes of Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay.

Sergio BusquetsSergio Busquets

Busquets has been at Barcelona since 2005 / Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Age: 32 (33 soon, but he’s 32 til he’s 33, that’s how it works)
Position: DM
Possible destinations: MLS
Estimated yearly salary: 10 Michus

Roy Keane’s assessment of Busquets at Euro 2020 perfectly sums up the midfielder: “He can’t run, can’t tackle, but in a possession-based team, he passes forward and nine times out of ten he makes the right choice.”

Unfortunately for Busquets, he makes a hell of a lot of money and is on the decline. Barcelona need to cash in.

Antoine GriezmannAntoine Griezmann

Griezmann’s never really got going at Barcelona / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Age: 30
Position: CF/LW/RW
Possible destinations: Man City, PSG
Estimated yearly salary: 1,500,000 copies of Football Manager

Barcelona’s pursuit of Tony G was always weird. He plays in the exact same position as Messi, but if he doesn’t, then you have to shoehorn him in and get half the player he can be. Doesn’t really sound like a wise use of €120m.

Luckily for Barça, Man City could be prepared to take Griezmann off their hands as they seek alternative forward options to Harry Kane. It’d be a huge let-off for the Blaugrana if that were to be the case.

Miralem PjanicMiralem Pjanic

Poor Pjanic has only been at the club for one season / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Age: 31
Position: CM
Possible destinations: Tottenham, Juventus
Estimated yearly salary: 840,000,000 Freddos

Why is Pjanic at Barcelona again? Oh right. They essentially swapped him with Arthur so that themselves and Juventus could balance their books. Good one, lads.

A fine player in his prime no doubt, but Barça are well stocked in midfield and, as you’ve probably guessed by now, could do with shifting his wages.

Ousmane DembeleOusmane Dembele

Dembele’s been on the sidelines for much of his time in La Liga / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Age: 24
Position: RW/LW
Possible destinations: PSG, Arsenal, Tottenham
Estimated yearly salary: 2,400,000 Fortnite skins

Injuries have been the bane of Dembele’s Barça career, and he’s often been linked with a move away from Camp Nou. With the club in desperate need of funds, now is the right time for him to move on. try and prove to be a success elsewhere.

Philippe CoutinhoPhilippe Coutinho

Coutinho is recovering from knee surgery / Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Age: 29
Position: AM/LW
Possible destinations: Milan, Everton, PSG
Estimated yearly salary: 80,000 Borussia Dortmund season tickets

Dear lord, what a sad little signing, Barcelona.

Not many teams can claim to have spent nine figures on a player who then proceeded to score against them in an 8-2 loss while he was still contracted to the club. Coutinho’s Barça spell has been a disaster, and agent Kia Joorabchian has already been tasked with finding him a new club.

Samuel UmtitiSamuel Umtiti

It’s been a long time since Umtiti had a run of games under his belt / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Age: 27
Position: CB
Possible destinations: Arsenal, Lyon, Zenit
Estimated yearly salary: 2,400,000 downloads of that France World Cup winning song on iTunes

Poor Umtiti has been ravaged by injury in recent years, making just 49 appearances for Barcelona in the last three seasons.

But this is a cut-throat business. Barcelona need the money a lot more than they need another player who’s rarely ever fit.

Norberto Murara NetoNorberto Murara Neto

Neto is backup to Marc-Andre ter Stegen / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Age: 31
Position: GK
Possible destinations: Arsenal
Estimated yearly salary: 43,000 Gunnersaurses

Apparently Arsenal want Neto? Err, okay, sure. Take him. Thanks for popping by.

For more from Sean Walsh, follow him on Twitter!

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