On the last day of the transfer window, Barcelona was solving the Arsenal-Aubameyang-Dembele puzzle with the entire management team. And I was only half done. Aubameyang nevertheless became a player of the Catalan club, but Dembele, against all persuasion, remained.
Aubameyang ended up moving as a free agent, breaking his contract with Arsenal: he already had no future at the London club. He had not appeared on the field since December, at the same time he lost the captain’s armband due to systematic violations of discipline. The conflict with Arteta was growing, Aubameyang’s prospects for playing in such a situation were close to zero, so he chose to escape to Barcelona.
But this move as well as the one of Ferran Torres became possible only through salary cuts of new and old players and here is how Barcelona pulled it off.
How Barcelona got Torres and Aubameyang despite their salary cap
The transfer of Ferran Torres for a large sum for Barça in the current realities (€ 55 million) became possible only after Joan Laporta restructured the debt.
Short-term obligations were converted into long-term ones at the expense of a group of European investors and Barcelona took out a €595m loan from investment bank Goldman Sachs for 35 years. At the same time, the first five are a grace period during which the club will pay only interest.
Barça also agreed with Torres himself: for the first six months, he will receive a low salary. The increase will be gradual from next season. But that was also not enough as management had to redraw the payroll in order to get all players under the salary limit.
Umtiti was one of the players that agreed on a salary decrease by 10% – he was the third-highest paid player in the team before that.
The club has been trying to negotiate new terms with Dembele as well – according to media reports, he receives €12m a year after taxes. It was important for Barcelona to either re-sign the player or sell him. First, to facilitate the payroll; secondly, to extend the distribution of transfer payments for another period; thirdly, not to lose him for free – this summer, he will become a free agent.
But Dembele rested: he refused the conditions offered by the club, requested a cosmic salary of € 43 million, and did not want to go anywhere.
On January 31, Barça continued to hope that Dembele would leave – his sale would have unloaded the payroll for the transfer of Aubameyang. The club offered him a move to Arsenal, but Usman refused.
Dembele didn’t quit, but Aubameyang has registered anyway. Despite the fact that Dembele stayed, this can be done without getting out of the salary cap – all because Aubameyang agreed to a multiple pay cut. So much so that for the first six months he will receive € 2 million before taxes instead of € 30 million.
From next season, of course, his salary will increase but he did his best to help Barcelona in this crucial moment. Overall, this transfer window showed us the two types of players – those that want money and have no passion for their team and those that will agree to anything as long as they get to play for the club.
Both players have already shown their qualities since their start in Barcelona and we might see the rebirth of the team that has been struggling this entire season.
Aubameyang will not become the top scorer of this season but there is a good chance that he will fight for this prize next year and some sites have the best odds for long-term markets out there. So, make sure to get a bonus code on the most popular online platform if you haven’t already.