Barcelona 'plan to slash their wage bill by £150MILLION', making room for the return of Lionel Messi

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Barcelona are planning to cut their wage bill by a further £150million with captains Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets all at risk of being moved on, according to reports. 

Barcelona endured a testing summer which saw them have to pull several financial levers as they tried to balance their books, while continuing to strengthen Xavi’s first team squad. 

They spent £145m during the transfer window on several signings but their monetary constraints saw them unable to register these new additions at the beginning of the transfer window, leaving the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde in limbo.

Barcelona stalwarts Sergio Busquets (L) and Gerard Pique (C) could be moved on from the club

Barcelona stalwarts Sergio Busquets (L) and Gerard Pique (C) could be moved on from the club

Nou Camp bosses have said this could pave the way for Lionel Messi's return to Barcelona

Nou Camp bosses have said this could pave the way for Lionel Messi’s return to Barcelona

However, the Catalan club were able to generate the funds needed by partly selling off future TV rights income and Barca Studios – their in-house media production stable.

However, their wage bill still sits at a whopping £546m and according to Spanish publication Sport, they want to reduce this figure by a further £150m, with the ideal wage bill being seen as someway between £376m to £402m.

The report goes onto state that the departures of club captains and legends Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique have already been factored in to this planned reduction. 

Jordi Alba, who has racked up 433 appearances for the Catalan giants, could also be moved on

Jordi Alba, who has racked up 433 appearances for the Catalan giants, could also be moved on

Busquets has made 685 appearances for Barcelona, while Pique has played 608 times and Alba has racked up 433 games, so their departures would garner much sadness for supporters of the Catalan giants. 

However, they will be appeased by the club’s vice-president of economics Eduard Romeu claiming that it could result in Lionel Messi making a sensational return to the club, with Romeu saying this would be financially ‘possible’. 

Messi departed Barcelona last summer to join PSG amid the Catalan giants’ financial issues, but his contract with the Ligue 1 side is due to expire in 2023.

The Argentine forward is expected to make a decision on his future after the World Cup in Qatar, and Romeu has declared that Barcelona could afford to bring Messi back to the Nou Camp.

Messi scored 672 goals in 778 games during a 17-year-spell at the club from 2004-2021

Messi scored 672 goals in 778 games during a 17-year-spell at the club from 2004-2021

Barcelona club president Joan Laporta had to activate several economic levers in the summer

Barcelona club president Joan Laporta had to activate several economic levers in the summer

‘It would be possible financially because if he returned it would be as a free agent,’ Romeu told El Mati de Catalunya Radio.

‘But it’s a decision which has to be made by the coaching staff and the player. It doesn’t correspond to me [to make those decisions], but it would be viable. Although I don’t have it in the budget.

‘He is an icon of the club. This will always be his home, but it will be a technical decision [if he returns].’

Despite his comments on potentially re-signing Messi, Romeu has admitted that Barcelona are still two years away from being in a healthy financial position.

‘We have saved Barça, but we still haven’t resolved it. We don’t have it healthy; it involves a lot of austerity, a lot of rigour and there is a lot of work to do,’ he added.

Messi's contract with current club Paris Saint Germain expires at the end of the season

Messi’s contract with current club Paris Saint Germain expires at the end of the season

‘In the 2024/25 season we will be at the level that corresponds to us.’

Romeu has refused to talk down Barcelona’s chances of landing Messi, but the 35-year-old playmaker recently stated that he is ‘enjoying’ himself in Paris, hinting that he could extend his stay in the French capital.

‘I feel good, different from last year and I knew it was going to be like that,’ Messi told reporters.

‘Last year, as I’ve already said, I had a bad time, I never finished finding myself but this year is different. I’ve arrived with a different head, more accommodated to the club, to the dressing room, to the game, to my teammates.

‘The truth is I feel very good and I’m enjoying myself again.’

Messi won the Champions League four times and LaLiga on 10 occasions during his first spell at Barcelona, where he scored 672 goals in 778 games.

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