Memphis Depay has agreed a 30% salary cut from the initial terms he agreed with Barcelona, as the club fight to get their spiralling finances under control.
Barcelona have the largest wage bill in world football at present, and its unsustainability has backed them into a corner. In January, it was reported that they were on the brink of bankruptcy, with a nine-figure loss for the last financial year leaving their rapidly mounting debt at over £1bn.
It has created obvious competitive obstacles, and it was recently reported that they would be unable to register any of their new signings unless they drastically cut their spending. That’s because of La Liga’s salary cap, which they have exceeded even before any of their new signings are added to the squad.
Until they shift a substantial amount off the bill, they will be unable to register Depay, Eric Garcia or Sergio Aguero, while a new contract for former captain Lionel Messi will also be impossible.
To that end, they have been hard at work trying to offload players, with the likes of Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umtiti among those facing the chop.
It is now being reported by Goal that the situation has gotten so bad that the club are unable to pay Depay the €7m (£6m) salary he had agreed with the Spanish giants when he signed a pre-contract earlier this year. It’s claimed he has agreed terms on a dramatically reduced wage of less than €5m.
A similar reduction has been required of Garcia following his move from Manchester City, but neither player had a problem with taking the cut.
In Depay’s case, this is because he was desperate to sign for Barcelona and work alongside his former Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman. He made that clear in an emotional message to the fans after he signed.
“It’s literally a dream come true for me to join the biggest club in the world with the greatest fans,” Depay said.
“I’m so excited to play for the fans in front of a full stadium. The Barça fans are obviously very special, the way they live the game, experience the game. They just love football so much. I’m very excited to play in front of a crowd like that.
“Obviously I want to thank the whole board of Barcelona, the president and the coach for making the deal happen. Together with my team we reached a final agreement. “