The worrying financial situation at Barcelona has hit the club hard this season with Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann among the player exits, and their interest in signing Kylian Mbappe ahead of Real Madrid shows they have not learnt their lesson
The financial chaos at Barcelona has been well documented this year with a series of star departures bringing home the painful reality of their economic situation.
The Catalan giants were unable to renew the contract of superstar Lionel Messi due to operating above their wage limits before Antoine Griezmann also had to leave, returning to Atletico Madrid on a loan deal.
Yet there are fresh reports that the club are now interested in signing Paris Saint-Germain star striker Kylian Mbappe, who is out of contract in the French capital next summer.
The France international striker will theoretically be free to discuss a pre-contract agreement with other clubs from 1 January due to his contractual situation with Barca’s fierce rivals Real Madrid strongly linked with a move.
Madrid lodged a world record bid – which Sky Sports reported to be in excess of €220million – which received no response from the Ligue 1 club in the closing hours of the summer transfer window.
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Yet Diario AS now lead on reports that Barca are eyeing an audacious move to secure the signature of the 22-year-old in what would prove a statement to beat their rivals.
This appears to be further evidence that the Catalan giants have still not learnt their lesson of economic stability and remain tempted into entering into deals that would trump rival clubs.
The report of interest in trumping Madrid to signing Mbappe comes in the same week that Barca’s vice president Eduard Romeu claimed that the club would not be able to sign elite players for the next two years.
It is suggested that Barca will look to lean on Israeli intermediary Pini Zahavi – who played a key role in Neymar’s Camp Nou exit to PSG in 2017 – to help secure the deal.
While Mbappe will be available as a free agent without a transfer fee owed to Les Parisiens, he will be demanding a one-off transfer fee that would go towards the striker and his representatives.
Barca are said to believe that Real Madrid are prepared to pay €50million for this fee, but they would be prepared to blow that out of the water with an offer of €90million – enough to demand Mbappe’s interest.
Furthermore, Madrid are not thought to want to offer Mbappe an annual salary in excess of their current highest earner – Gareth Bale, whose annual wage in the Spanish capital is €17million.
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This all seems remarkably speculative and not in line with Barca’s economic reality, with the financial situation at Real Madrid much healthier and in a position able to fund such deals.
The Catalan club missed out on the chance to sign Mbappe in the summer of 2017, when he eventually joined PSG from Monaco.
After Neymar’s exit, Barca were exploring the possibility of signing the Frenchman but instead opted to sign his international teammate Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund.