Barcelona risk not being able to register Lionel Messi or new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia until January if they cannot get their finances in order and fall in line with La Liga’s strict salary cap rules before the transfer deadline on 31 August.
Messi is officially counted as a free agent because his previous contract expired on 30 June. He is thought to have reached an agreement over a new five-year deal, including a 50% pay cut on his previous deal, but it won’t be signed and registered until the budget is available.
With the coronavirus pandemic worsening existing financial problems, Barça must raise funds and slash wages in order to comply with the salary rules. If they are unable to make the room on the wage bill for Messi and the others, they cannot be registered to play.
Even though free agents can be registered with new clubs outside of transfer windows if they were already a free agent the most recent transfer window began, the 31 August deadline is still critical for Barça.
Former Getafe midfielder Pedro Leon was not allowed be registered in summer 2014 when his club exceeded their salary cap and ESPN writes that La Liga president Javier Tebas has no intention of relaxing the rules of Barcelona.
Understandably, it is said that Barça want the situation resolved by the time they open their La Liga campaign against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on 15 August. There will be another 16 days after then to sort things out if takes a little longer to make the sales, but no more flexibility after that.
A handful of fringe players, including Junior Firpo and Konrad de la Fuente have been moved on, but the important deals to make the real difference will include the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and to a lesser extent Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic.