Barcelona crisis: Should La Liga giants keep or sell players like Griezmann and Coutinho?

  • Kobe Tong
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Barcelona are in a state of disarray.

Barcelona's worrying finances

Shocking reports emerged on Monday night claiming that the Blaugrana are currently unable to register their summer signings because their wage bill needs to be reduced by €200,000.

Goal claimed that Barcelona have surpassed the strict salary cap set by La Liga, which means that new arrivals such as Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay cannot be registered.

It also means that the wage structure will need to be reorganised in order to complete Lionel Messi's impending contract renewal with the club skipper having spent the last few days as a free agent.

Raphael Varane is very close to joining Man Utd (Football Terrace)

Inevitable squad reshuffle

It's an alarming situation that will force Joan Laporta to execute a number of departures at the club in order to fully onboard their new signings and secure the future of their greatest ever player.

However, it remains to be seen exactly how the Barcelona president will carry out this process, which lead us to take a closer look at the Catalans' squad and their reported wage structure.

Using the current cohort of players listed on the club's official website and The Sun's intel on wages from earlier in the season, we have assessed who Barcelona should keep and sell this summer.

Who might Barcelona cut?

We certainly aren't campaigning for players who want to stay at Camp Nou to be sent packing but at the same time, we've got to be realistic about areas where Barca can better organise affairs both from a sporting and financial context.

In other words, we're trying to imagine how Laporta might best tweak his squad in order to reset the club  and we suspect that seven departures could make for the ideal first-team reshuffle.

Oh, and we're not including Barcelona's summer signings because, well, it's pretty obvious that both Laporta and ourselves won't be campaigning to flog somebody that has only just arrived.

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Barcelona squad: Keep or sell

But disclaimers and housekeep aside, let's take a run through the Barcelona squad and see who we think the Blaugrana should keep and sell in order to get Messi, Aguero and co through the door.

Goalkeepers

Marc-Andre ter Stegen - keep

Neto - keep

Yup, there's not much to say here other than Ter Stegen is one of the best goalkeeper's in the world, reportedly earning a paltry £100,000-a-week, while Neto is more than good enough as his number two.

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Defenders

Sergino Dest - keep

Gerard Pique - keep

Ronald Araújo - keep

Samuel Umtiti - sell

Clement Lenglet - keep

Jordi Alba - keep

Sergi Roberto - keep

Junior Firpo - sell

As much as some Barcelona players would love to see half these defenders culled, we've got to be unemotional and accept that the club still needs back-up options, particularly in the full-back positions.

That's why we're only positing two departures and one of them, Firpo, looks to be nailed on already with the Daily Mail reporting that an impending Leeds United move will save Barca £8 million per season.

And I think it's pretty uncontroversial to suggest that Umtiti, who is reportedly pocketing as much as £208,000-a-week, should be let go on the back of just 40 La Liga appearances since 2017/18.

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Midfielders

Sergio Busquets - keep

Miralem Pjanic - sell

Riqui Puig - keep

Philippe Coutinho - sell

Pedri - keep

Frenkie de Jong - keep

Two of the biggest earners at Camp Nou play in the centre of the park and reports would have you believe that Coutinho and Pjanic are ripe for the chop regardless of what we think of things.

The simple fact of the matter is Coutinho, although nowhere as poor as some have made him out to be in Spain, hasn't justified his status as one of the most expensive footballers of all time.

Similarly, Pjanic's reported status as the seventh-highest paid player in Ronald Koeman's squad is wildly incongruous with his contribution last season and appears to be a key area in which Barca could save money. 

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Forwards

Antoine Griezmann - sell

Martin Braithwaite - sell

Lionel Messi - keep

Ousmane Dembele - sell

Ansu Fati - keep

So, here's where the controversy really sets in because there's no denying that Griezmann and Dembele are both world-class players who we would love to see thriving in Catalonia.

However, we have to be realistic and say that they haven't lived up to the expectations that come with their combined transfer fee and wages that reportedly total £255 million and £564,000-a-week.

With Dembele entering the final year of his contract on the back of 12 injuries in just four seasons, it would be wise for the Blaugrana to get as much money for the Frenchman as humanly possible.

Griezmann was by far the hardest player to cut because he certainly hasn't flopped at Barcelona, but he hasn't thrived either and his place in the squad is under threat on the back of Aguero and Depay's arrivals.

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As for Braithwaite, he's done exactly the job that's been asked of him, so credit where credit is due, but Barcelona need to be aiming higher with their forwards if they want to return to their glory days.

Tough calls to come

One suspects, though it's impossible to be certain, that those seven departures would go a long way towards bailing Barcelona out from the financial riptide that they seem to be drowning in.

However, make no mistake that Barcelona's problems concern much more than their bank balance because some of the club's recent signings, particularly in attacking positions, have been truly wild.

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Spending almost £400 million on Griezmann, Dembele and Coutinho simply hasn't paid off and the club need to shift their outlook to the long-term if they're going to repair the damage caused.

Make no mistake that we'd love nothing more than for the current squad to finally gel and start rampaging their way to trophies once again.

However, you'll forgive us for finding that difficult to picture even in a world where Barcelona's finances were fine and dandy, never mind when cutting players might well become a sad necessity.

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