Barcelona may be forced to sell six stars in January after CL exit
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Barcelona could be set to take a financial hit after they crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage for the second year in a row. Xavi’s side needed Viktoria Plzen to get a win over Inter Milan while also defeating Bayern Munich, but knew before their clash with the Bundesliga side that they were knocked out as Inter defeated the Czech side 4-0 on Wednesday.
The Catalan giants mortgaged part of their future finances to be able to spend big in the short-term as they brought Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso to the club, but without revenue from the latter stages of the Champions League they may be forced to find that money from sales in the transfer window. Express Sport looks at six players that Barcelona could be forced to sell.
Frenkie de Jong
It was no secret in the summer that Barcelona attempted to sell Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United. The Red Devils chased the Dutch playmaker all window but were unable to convince the midfielder to move to Old Trafford, as he was still owed money from Barcelona due to deferred wages.
Erik ten Hag’s side could come back in for De Jong again, but it would be no surprise if Barcelona made another attempt to offload the Dutch international despite being a regular feature in the side this season as he could command the largest fee of players that the club are willing to let go.
Despite finally turning into a key player at Barcelona, the club will be aware that Ousmane Dembele is not short of suitors from the Premier League who would be willing to pay a large fee for his services. The French winger could have left the Nou Camp on a free transfer last summer but signed a new deal to stay under Xavi.
With Ansu Fati and recent big signing Raphinha as competition on the flanks, Barcelona may feel that due to his re-sale value that Dembele could be dispensable. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been linked with the France international in the past and they could soon find him on the market once again.
Holland’s captain Memphis Depay was another player that could have moved away from Barcelona in the summer potentially on a free transfer, but remains at the club. His move to La Liga from Lyon has not worked out after several impressive seasons in France, though his quality is well-known and he could put himself in the shop window at the World Cup as his country’s talisman.
There were rumours that he could have mutually agreed to terminate his contract after the summer transfer window closed as he was linked with a move to Manchester United, but Depay looked to see out the final year of his contract. While foreign clubs will be able to speak to the Dutchman regarding a pre-contractual agreement in January, they may wish to spend a fee to sign him in the winter transfer window.
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Franck Kessie only joined Barcelona in the summer on a free transfer from AC Milan, but has seen limited minutes as competition is fierce against Sergio Busquets, De Jong, Pedri and Gavi. It is also unlikely that Xavi sees the Ivorian as Busquets’ successor, with the legendary midfielder set to leave at the end of the season when his contract expires.
Barcelona have even been linked with Wolves star Ruben Neves to come in and anchor the midfield, and with competition already rife it could be Kessie to make way for a possible arrival.
Barcelona paid a premium to Manchester City to bring Ferran Torres back to Spain, and according to Spanish outlet CCMA still owe Pep Guardiola’s side over £40million for the transfer. The Spaniard will have his admirers back in the Premier League, though if Barcelona are desperate to get his wages off the book could get creative and send him back to City for a minimal fee, where he was rated by Guardiola.
Jordi Alba has spent ten years at Barcelona and has one year left on his current deal, but was linked with a move to Inter Milan in the summer and the club do have options to replace the experienced full-back. The Catalan side signed Marcos Alonso from Chelsea in the summer and have the promising Alejandro Balde to call upon as well, as they could be well-placed to replace Alba and get his wages off the books.
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