Deco believes that signing Mbappe would have a negative impact on Barcelona’s performance

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© IMAGO

Barcelona sporting director Deco says signing Kylian Mbappe would make the Catalans WORSE, if it meant that players such as Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo were sold to fund a deal for the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season and is widely expected to join Real Madrid on a free transfer.

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Cadena SER reported this week the gargantuan finances that would be required in order for Madrid to make a deal happen. Mbappe wants a €50 million annual salary, a €120 million signing on fee and a 60 / 40 split with the club for his image rights.

While the 14-time European champions have room to manoeuvre with their budget and can make a deal happen, even at those eye-watering fees, it is simply an impossibility for Barcelona to come up with that kind of cash.

The Camp Nou club are again in financial dire straits despite president Joan Laporta pulling various “levers” to assemble the squad which won LaLiga last season.

Barcelona out of levers to pull

Private Equity firm Sixth Street paid €267m for an initial 10 percent of Barcelona’s domestic TV rights in 2022 before coming back again and paying €315m for another 15 percent.

Orpheus Media and Socios.com pledged £180m between them in exchange for a 24.5 percent slice each of Barca Studios, the club’s in-house media channel. Orpheus Media, it has been reported, still owe up to €40m for the Barca Studios deal.

Large sums were lavished in 2022 on the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha while Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen were added as free transfers.

An expected departure for Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United, however, failed to materialise.

The cash dried up last year with LaLiga then cutting Barca’s wage ceiling from €649m to €270m. LaLiga chief Javier Tebas declared that the “levers” accounted for 5 percent of the team’s turnover, and therefore fell foul of the Spanish authorities’ regulations.

It meant no deal could be done to bring Lionel Messi back to Catalonia and he went to Inter Miami instead.

Lionel Messi
© IMAGO – Lionel Messi

Aside from Oriol Romeu for €3.4m, only free transfers and loans were added in the summer window.

Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo came in on loan while Inigo Martinez and Ilkay Gundogan were added on frees.

Barca did have sufficient headroom in January to add Vitor Roque from Athletico Paranaense for a €40m fee but appear to be potless yet again heading into the next transfer period.

Were they to add Mbappe or any other superstar names, they would be forced to sell first-team players to make ends meet.

Sergi Roberto and Raphinha have been mentioned as possible candidates to be sacrificed while it has been reported that Araujo could attract a nine-figure bid from Bayern Munich.

That said, Deco is reluctant to fund a superstar push at the expense of breaking up his team.

“I don’t know what will happen with Mbappe,” he told the press on Thursday.

“It would be a mistake to sell [Ronald] Araujo and Frenkie [de Jong]. I would like to improve the squad and not make it worse.

“I think it would be worse for the team if Araujo and Frenkie left and Mbappe came.”

Those comments echo what was said by Xavi back in January, when fanciful links to Mbappe and Erling Haaland were put to him.

“We can’t think of Haaland or Mbappe,” he said. “Barcelona can’t afford these players now, unfortunately.”

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