Robert Lewandowski is Barcelona‘s main target for this summer. The Bayern Munich No.9 is the big name that Joan Laporta wants to bring in for next season.
He is a player who is a total guarantee of goals, but who will be very complicated to sign. It is going to be a long process, one that started a few weeks ago, but nobody knows when or how it will end.
These are the steps that the Blaugrana are taking and intend to follow.
Blocking Lewandowski’s Bayern renewal
Barcelona have been working on this for a long time. The friendship between Joan Laporta and Pini Zahavi, the player’s agent, has been key.
The Barcelona president told him of their interest and that they would be willing to push for him despite the club’s complicated economic situation.
The first step was to convince the player to accept a new challenge in his career and not renew his contract with Bayern, who were offering him two more years.
This has now been achieved. The player has told Bayern that he does not want to extend his contract, even though he still has one year left on the current one.
Barcelona’s search for funding
Once the first point has been achieved, Barcelona need to raise money. There are two ways to do that, and one of them is up to the board of directors to solve.
Laporta is in charge of reaching various agreements to inject money into a club in the red. The president is working on the sale of 49 percent of two assets: BLM and Barca Estudios. Laporta is working on it, but has not yet reached an agreement.
But, more important than these two, is the agreement with LaLiga and CVC for the transfer of a percentage of the club’s television rights.
This agreement is very important because part of the money received, approximately 40 million euros, goes directly towards Financial Fair Play, which is what ties the club down when it comes to transfers. Therefore, reaching an agreement with LaLiga over CVC is vital to being able to bring in Lewandowski.
Financial Fair Play
Barcelona need to free up wage bill to be able to sign the Polish striker, and this is a tough job for Mateu Alemany.
The situation is so bad that the club are subject to the 1/4 or 1/3 rule (one or the other is applied depending on whether the player’s wage bill represents more or less than five percent of the total). This means that for every three or four euros a player frees up, only one can be invested in a signing.
Alemany already took a first step with the sale of Philippe Coutinho. His departure freed up around 40m euros on the wage bill (wage bill and amortisation). That means that, as per the 1/3 rule, Barcelona will have around 13m euros to be able to sign.
This is what has to be done with other players in order to have room in the wage bill to sign Lewandowski. The striker will have an approximate annual cost of around 30m euros (16m euros in wages and around 13m euros in transfer fees if he is sold for 40m euros, which is the figure that Barcelona are looking at). This gives an idea of how difficult it is to sign the striker.
Negotiating with Bayern
Should Barcelona be able to raise enough money to sign the striker, it will be time to sit down and negotiate a transfer fee with Bayern. That’s a task that will not be easy.
In a market where there are very few centre-forwards available, the German club will ask for a lot of money to let him go. Or they may not even want to negotiate and prefer to keep the striker for a year, even if he leaves for free in June 2023.
If there is no replacement, Barcelona can probably already assume that Bayern will not sell.
This is the situation as it stands with Lewandowski. Barcelona have made every effort to sign him, but there is still a long way to go. And it won’t be a bed of roses from here on out.