In the modern game, arrangements to pay large transfer fees in instalments are increasingly becoming the norm. However, Bayern Munich reportedly have no interest in such a payment plan if Barcelona are to sign their star striker Robert Lewandowski this summer.
The 33-year-old seemingly has his heart set on a move to Barcelona, with the La Liga giants just as keen to bring him to Camp Nou.
Bayern, though, won’t let Lewandowski go on the cheap. The Bavarian outfit is believed to want as much as £52 million for the Polish international, who has notched an incredible 344 goals in 375 appearances while in Germany.
The shocking state of Barca’s finances has been well-known for some time now, leading Bayern to insist upon full payment upfront if they are to allow Lewandowski to depart.
Last month, the Barcelona board approved the sale of a percentage of both its merchandising and television revenue in a bid to bring much-need funds into the club’s coffers.
Quiz: Can you guess the player from their Wikipedia career path?
However, according to The Athletic’s Raphael Honigstein, Bayern see that move as a short-term fix and are even concerned that Barca could fold within the next two years as a result of their fiscal woes.
“Bayern have told Barcelona ‘we don’t want any instalments because we’re not sure you’re going to be around in one or two years’ time, we want all the money upfront, in cash,” Honigstein told The Totally Football Show podcast. “It’s one of the deal’s sticking points.”
The true extent of Barcelona’s money troubles became apparent last summer when they were forced to part with club legend Lionel Messi. The Argentine genius was out of contract and so bad were the club’s accounts that they couldn’t get La Liga approval to re-register him as a squad member – even if he had played for free.
Since then, however, Barcelona chiefs have been able to get several new faces through the door. The likes of Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay were all able to play last season after existing squad members took a pay cut to make it possible.
Barca have also signed Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie in recent weeks, although neither can yet be registered to play until the club can improve their balance sheet.
From the outside, it looks a total mess, albeit one that Barcelona have managed to navigate for the last 12 months.
Bayern’s stance on a potential Lewandowski deal, though, highlights just how grave the situation could become. It’s a sobering thought to think that one of European football’s most legendary clubs might be so close to disaster, but there’s no denying that things do need to change.
A hefty lump sum looks set to be required if Lewandowski is to become a Barcelona player this summer. Time will tell if the Spanish side can get the deal done under intense financial pressure.
De Ligt wants Chelsea (The Football Terrace)