Barcelona face desperate scramble as season looms
The Catalan giants are struggling to register new signings ahead of La Liga opener
Cash-strapped La Liga giants Barcelona have sold off further assets in a bid to raise funds to help register their various new signings ahead of the start of the new Spanish season – the fourth time this summer that they have taken such measures.
It was was revealed that the club have sold a further 24.5% of Barca Studios – the club's digital wing and production company – to Orpheus Media for a fee of €100 million ($102.5 million). Previous deals have seen Barcelona sell a further stake in Barca Studios, as well as a 25% share in their forthcoming television revenue to Sixth Street in a 25-year deal.
The latter two deals are thought to have raised around €500 million to add to the club's coffers to fall in line with La Liga spending limits. At the end of last season, Barcelona were in arrears to the tune of €144 million – the only club in the top flight with a negative cap in advance of the new season.
Barcelona, who play Rayo Vallecano on Saturday evening, now face a race against time to register seven players to make them eligible for the fixture, including big-money signings Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha.
It was also reported this week that free agency signings Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie have clauses written into their contracts which permit them to leave the club on free transfers if they are not registered in time for the opening league game of the season, though it remains unlikely that they would exercise these rights.
Leeds United, meanwhile, are also understood to have written provisions into their sale of Brazilian winger Raphinha to the Catalan club which state that the fee will increase if Barcelona don't meet the required payment plan.
Despite the various cash injections, Barca still require some creative accounting to register their entire squad, reports ESPN.
Talks are currently underway with defender Gerard Pique to reduce his salary in order to meet financial requirements, with talks understood to be near completion. Pique was also required to take a pay cut last year so Barcelona could register Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay.
Other players such as Sergi Roberto and Ousmane Dembele have signed new contracts but these have no yet been given the green light by La Liga.
Barcelona's financial mess last season saw them lose out on their greatest ever player, Lionel Messi, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain after his registration of a new contract was refused by La Liga amid the club's poor financial affairs.