Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie could both leave Barcelona as free agents in the coming days if the club fails to register them before their La Liga opener against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
Barça picked up Christensen and Kessie on free transfers following their departures from Chelsea and AC Milan respectively at the end of last season.
But the club’s well-publicised ongoing financial difficulties mean that neither has yet been officially registered with La Liga. In what is becoming an alarming annual tradition, one that saw Lionel Messi forced to leave in 2021, Barça still need to create room within their strict salary cap.
La Liga’s rules ensures that teams are not allowed to spend beyond their means on player wages, essentially club revenue minus other operational costs and debt repayments. Barça’s spending power under those regulations has been repeatedly slashed over the last few years.
Unless Barça can cut costs or find additional revenue, they won’t have the ability to register the contracts agreed with Christensen or Kessie. And ESPN has now reported each player would have the power to walk away if they are left unregistered.
Deals for Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde also haven’t been registered with La Liga, but they do not have the same freedom to leave because they didn’t arrive as free agents. Barça have also not yet registered new contracts for Ousmane Dembele or Sergi Roberto.
President Joan Laporta is said to remain optimistic that all seven deals will be registered in time, but it is expected that Barça would still seek talks with the Christensen and Kessie camps to avoid such a drastic parting of ways if the first deadline is missed. Barça ultimately still have until the transfer window closes in three week to officially register all new signings.
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Further players sales could assist, with Frenkie de Jong the subject of pursuits from Manchester United and Chelsea, uncertainty over Memphis Depay and fresh rumours about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang potentially being offloaded.
Even the €600m of revenue, offset by €150m spent, raised so far this summer by selling off sizeable stakes in future earnings from domestic television rights and in-house media, isn’t thought to be enough to get everything registered now.
At the end of last season, Barça’s permitted La Liga spending was -€144m, a bizarre figure that highlights the scale of the worsening annual saga.