Koeman wants Barca sales: 'It is impossible for all of them to play'

Martin Macdonald
Ancelotti looking to raid Spain again with Umtiti swoop, but could it happen?

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has suggested the club need to step up their efforts to trim down his squad.

At the moment, the Blaugrana are in an incredible amount of debt and have been ordered by La Liga to slash their wage budget to meet new regulations.

Due to those regulations, Lionel Messi was unable to return which eventually led to a shocking free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

In order for new signings Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to play in La Liga, Gerard Pique was forced to take a significant pay cut, with other club captains Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Sergio Busquets following suit.

There are a number of high earners who the club are desperate to get rid off, though, including Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic.

Despite their status as periphery players, both have been included in the squad to face Getafe on Sunday.

Koeman says that, whenever he has everyone fit, there will be plenty of players disappointing at a lack of game time unless they are moved on.

“It’s not good to talk about names,” Koeman said, when asked directly about Umtiti's inclusion.

“The club knows what I want, but I have always said that I respect the players who have a contract. All the members of the squad know who will have few options to play, but it’s not good for anyone to talk about particular cases. If we recover all the injured, we’ll have a team of 32 players.

"It’s impossible for all of them to play.”

Who could leave Barcelona this summer?

Samuel Umtiti

Samuel Umtiti's career has been ravaged by injuries over the past few seasons, meaning that the club ultimately sought to replace him as a left-sided central defender with Sevilla’s Clement Lenglet.

Barcelona are absolutely desperate to get rid of him and have even attempted to cancel his contract just to get him off the wage bill.

In a pre-season game against Juventus he was jeered by his own fans, so the situation is dire for all parties.

Benfica and Everton have been mentioned as possible destinations.

Miralem Pjanic

The fact that Barcelona paid Juventus €60m – plus €5m in bonuses – for a 30-year-old midfielder who had declined badly over the previous two seasons immediately raised eyebrows in Catalunya.

In reality, Barca’s decision to sign Miralem Pjanic and sell Arthur to Juventus at an equally inflated price of €72m – plus €10m in bonuses – was an accounting transfer designed to help both debt-fuelled teams balance the books and make capital gains.

Miralem Pjanic, Barcelona

Miralem Pjanic, Barcelona

While both Pjanic and Arthur struggled at their clubs, there’s no doubt that Juventus got the better end of this deal.

Unfortunately for the Bosnian, he was signed before Ronald Koeman took over, and the Dutchman has proved he is not a fan, especially after the emergence of Pedri in Pjanic's place.

Phillipe Coutinho

After Ousmane Dembele failed to immediately replace Neymar in his first six months at Barcelona, the Blaugrana threw money at the problem again by purchasing Philippe Coutinho for an outrageous initial fee of €121m plus bonuses.

The move has turned out to be a disaster for all parties as Coutinho has failed to make an impact on the team, regularly taking up the same positions as Lionel Messi which is a no-go.

He returned to the club after he failed to earn a permanent move to Bayern after a loan deal.

Messi is no longer there anymore which might open up a spot for the Brazilian, but if a good offer comes in he is off, though Arsenal is no longer an option after they signed Martin Odegaard.

Ilaix Moriba

Unfortunately for Barcelona, Ilaix Moriba and his representatives iare playing hardball over a new contract. He is already the highest paid youth player in the club's history, but he wants another pay rise as well as more exposure to first team football before he commits to a new deal.

The 18-year-old wants €100k a week to remain at Camp Nou and the club, quite simply, cannot afford to give him that currently.

Ilaix Moriba

With his contract expiring in the summer of 2022, Barcelona are prepared to let him leave for €15m, despite having a release clause of €100m.

RB Leipzig are leading the race, but Manchester United were interested previously.

Martin Braithwaite

Martin Braithwaite has been at the club for around 18 months, having been scrambled from Leganes in February 2020, when he arrived as an emergency transfer due to injury problems at the club.

Barcelona spent a princely €18 million on the player, matching his release clause but above his typical market value. Now, with the club desperate to find funds, they are hoping to sell him for around €15m.

He has managed only five league goals in 41 matches for Barca, though two of those did come in the opening game of this season against Real Sociedad.