We have seen Barcelona exert its financial might to the detriment of other clubs around Europe many times in the past few decades. However the opportunity has arrived for the favour to be returned, and Liverpool should be the first in line.
Barcelona’s debts are estimated at £1 billion. According to new La Liga restrictions clubs are limited to a wage bill of 70% compared to their total income. Barcelona’s salary currently accounts for 95%, even without the renewing of Leonel Messi’s contract.
This not only restricts the Catalan club in future signings, helping Liverpool in the race for Erling Haaland, but it is also preventing them from registering their current signings.
Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Emerson Royal, and Memphis Depay all remain unregistered at this moment with the club needing to generate over £100 million in order to make that possible under La Liga regulations.
To find a European giant as financially vulnerable as this is rare and there is every reason Liverpool should utilise this to their own advantage.
Possible signings – Ilaix Moriba
Liverpool are aware there is a need for midfield reinforcements which makes Ilaix Moriba an interesting prospect. The 18-year-old made 14 appearances in the Barcelona first team last season and displayed much promise.
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Prior to the signing of his first professional contract it was believed that Manchester City and Juventus showed interest. However he chose to remain at Barcelona.
Despite having a €100 million release clause, ESPN Brazil have reported Moriba will be allowed to leave if an offer is received between €15 and €20 million.
Other midfield options such as Saul Niguez and Renato Sanchez promise to cost the club twice as much. For this reason Moriba may be seen as the best option. He has world-class potential and all the physical attributes which should allow him to adapt to the premier league.
Possible signings – Ousmane Dembele
Ever since Ousmane Dembele burst on to the European scene at Rennes, Liverpool have never been far away. Despite the Frenchman earning moves to Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona since then, the Reds have continued to monitor him.
Dembele is still just 24-years-old but has seen his career stagnate due to injuries.
Earlier this summer it was reported by Sport that Dembele would be available for just £44 million as a result of contract talks stalling. However, true to form, Dembele suffered a knee injury at the European Championships making any potential move unlikely.
£44 million would be a fee the club would be unwilling to pay however Barcelona’s current financial situation may be a reason for them to reconsider his value.
Dembele signed for Barcelona in 2017 for £135.5 million and he was considered someone worthy of that level of investment. If Liverpool can negotiate a fee in the region of £20 to £30 million then this would have to be a risk deemed worthy enough to take.
Dembele would provide depth in Liverpool’s wide positions and his injury timeline would still make him available to cover for Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah when they go to the African Cup of Nations in January.
Possible signings – Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool have been linked continuously with former player Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian, now 29-years-old, never really settled into life in Barcelona following his £142 million move. However Liverpool will now be given the opportunity to sign him back at a fraction of that fee.
Mundo Deportivo, via Sport Witness, had already reported that Coutinho would be available on loan this summer and with Coutinho estimated to be earning over €8.5 million is wages this year, it seems all the more likely Liverpool could come to an arrangement which benefits all parties involved.
Coutinho’s addition to Liverpool’s squad would provide quality and depth without the burden of a big price tag.
Sporting Director Michael Edwards has been known to drive a hard bargain. There are very few in football who have proven to be able to find value in a hectic transfer market, as well as being able to command big fees for players who leave.
Barcelona have been humiliated on the international stage as their own poor management has led to their club icon, in Messi, leaving on a free transfer.
They will not want to compound this by being unable to register their new signings either, which is now a real possibility. Therefore it may not be a case of who they want to sell, but who they can sell.
As they see the vultures circling, so to speak, they will undoubtedly prioritise players. For this reason it is unlikely you will see Frankie De Jong or Pedri leave the club.
However there is still an opportunity for Liverpool to gain at the expense of Barcelona and in doing so they could add much needed quality at a fraction of its’ worth.