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The impact of the pandemic has severely affected Barcelona's finances. The club have a hefty wage bill and - because of the way transfer payments are staggered - they still owe over £174 million, long-term, for players they have already bought.
The No 1 club Barca owe money to this year is Premier League champions Liverpool. Barcelona still need to pay the Reds a total of €40 million (around £35.5 million) for Philippe Coutinho, despite the Brazilian signing three years ago this January.
The initial deal was for a whopping £142 million: with £105 million handed across up front to Liverpool and the rest paid in instalments. Coutinho never found his best form and was loaned to Bayern Munich, but is back at Barca this season - and the club are still paying for him.
Barcelona also owe Ajax for Frenkie de Jong, the next payment being just over €16 million (£14 million) but with further instalments due after that. Then there's the almost €10 million (£9 million) required to pay Bordeaux for Malcom. All by the end of June.
And Brazilian flop Malcolm - now at Zenit - isn't the only player who Barcelona have now moved on but is still costing the club transfer money. Barca still owe payments for Arthur, (£18 million to Gremio) and for Arturo Vidal (£10m to Bayern Munich).
Should have clarified that the €126m owed by the club is in "short term" monies owed while the overall amount owed is €196m - including payments due beyond the financial year - of which the outstanding payment for Coutinho is €40m.- Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) January 25, 2021
One further transfer-related payment is also owed to Atletico Madrid, stemming from the Antoine Griezmann deal.
In other words, Barca have a lot of outgoings for a club with serious income problems. Football Espana report that Barcelona have asked the banks of Allianz, Barings, Amundi, Prudential and Goldman Sachs for dispensation to delay debt repayments, so that the club can avoid insolvency.
Barcelona had announced during the 2019/20 season that it expected to be the first club to break the £1 billion barrier for income in a single season. However that figure - perhaps always an ambitious goal - was made impossible by the pandemic.
In October, it was announced that the club's debts had doubled - and the news has not improved since, despite efforts to slash the wage bill by letting go the likes of Nelson Semedo, Arthur, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez.
It's also why some at the club felt selling Lionel Messi last summer might not have been a bad idea, just for the cash injection and wage reduction (as devastating as it would have been for the club's fans and image).
How Barcelona look to handle their debt - and keep on top of their transfer repayments - will clearly be a big story throughout 2021.
All imagery: PA Images
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