Barcelona plan to swap rather than buy players on the transfer market this summer, with football’s shutdown already having cost the club between €120 and €140 million in revenues, club vice president Jordi Cardoner has told ESPN.
Cardoner said it was certain the club would make a loss this season, but added: “Because our base economic situation is a solid one, this will not affect us the same way as probably other clubs.”
Cardoner predicted that swapping players without money changing hands would be a common practice for clubs this summer.
“It will be part of the game. This is the way things will happen for next season in European clubs,” he said.
Cardoner refused to discuss specific deals. However, his comments suggest that Barcelona will not splash large transfer fees on reported targets such as Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez or Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, nor match the Brazilian international’s salary of €30 million.
Cardoner suggested that in some cases three clubs might agree to a single interlinked deal, with one player going from Club A to Club B, another from Club B to Club C, and a third from Club C to Club A.
“Why not?” he said. “Now is the time to be creative.”
Barcelona coach Quique Setien was coy when asked about Martinez, telling La Gazetta dello Sport that he was a fan of his but: “All good players can attract the interest of Barcelona.”
Barca has several big-name players the club would be keen to offer as makeweights in trades. Philippe Coutinho — now on loan at Bayern Munich — Samuel Umtiti and midfielder Arthur Melo are among those who have been linked to trade deals. ESPN has reported that the club insists on keeping only Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
However, Barca may struggle to persuade well-paid players to leave in a year when salaries will likely be falling across the game.
Given Barcelona’s low expectations for transfer fees in this summer’s market, the club is unlikely to try to sell winger Ousmane Dembele, knowing that it could not recoup the €105 million it paid Borussia Dortmund for him in 2017.