Manchester City are in full swing but are on the verge of losing some of their firepower to Ferran Torres.
Torres is set to join Barcelona in the January transfer window after the two clubs strike a deal – despite crippling debt from the Spanish giants.
So how did this impending move come about – especially in light of Barca’s messy finances? Sportsmail have a look…
Manchester City striker Ferran Torres is set to complete his move to Barcelona in January
What has been agreed?
In principle, a transfer fee expected to exceed £ 55million, making Torres the most expensive-selling player in Manchester City history – barely eclipsing Leroy Sane’s departure for Bayern Munich.
As detailed by Sportsmail, the two clubs finalized the terms on Wednesday after weeks of negotiations. Barcelona general manager Ferran Reverter and soccer director Mateu Alemany visited City’s training base in November as they tried to reduce the corresponding fees.
The transfer begins with a guaranteed payment of £ 46.7million, with further additional clauses amounting to over £ 8million.
City believe £ 6million of those will be triggered almost immediately, while they will cash up to £ 8.5million if Torres is sold by Barca in the future.
An upfront fee of £ 46.7million has been agreed, which could then rise to £ 55million for the striker
How can we afford it?
A very good question considering Barcelona’s staggering £ 849million debt.
Barcelona’s financial woes are well documented, but they are achievable thanks to a £ 508million loan (yes you read that right) they got from Goldman Sachs. These gargantuan fees must be repaid over 35 years, with a five-year grace period also to help restructure their finances.
As also pointed out by the Spanish journalist Alvaro Montero, Barcelona would have cash reserves to help fund this deal – although clearly not enough without the loan from Goldman Sachs.
Montero also states that the structuring of payments to the City can be done over a longer period. For example, rather than paying large fees right away with smaller installments later; Montero believes City could be generous enough and allow Barca to pay smaller installments over a longer period.
Barca president Joan Laporta has signed a £ 508million loan with Goldman Sachs to relieve their debt
So can Torres play for Barcelona right away?
No, unless the club cut their own costs, due to La Liga financial rules. As it stands, the club are still outside the spending limits of the Spanish League and are therefore subject to the 1: 4 ratio – if they want to sign a player with a salary of € 4million ( £ 3.4million), someone with € 16million (£ 13.8m) has to leave, for example.
Former Torres City teammate Sergio Aguero, who has since retired, was unable to sign up with the Catalan giants this summer until Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets agree to cut their wages.
Barcelona’s board will have to negotiate more pay cuts if they want to see Torres on the pitch in 2022. Aguero has reportedly agreed to forgo the second year of his contract and receive only part of his salary for the rest of this season is a start. .
Sergio Aguero has given up second year of Barca contract after retiring from football
What else can help with the financial structure?
Sale. This is the most obvious thing and the newly appointed manager, Xavi, has made it clear who he wants to see to help him rebuild.
Philippe Coutinho remains Barcelona’s signing record, but the £ 145million man has proven to be a relative Camp Nou flop. He was an unused substitute in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Sevilla, with Xavi preferring youngsters instead, highlighting his place in the squad.
Samuel Umtiti is another player deemed surplus, as is substitute goalkeeper Neto.
Samuel Umtiti (left) and Philippe Coutinho are both available for sale at the Nou Camp
Ousmane Dembele is out of contract at the end of the season, so he could be a player they would look to get rid of in January – although that would hurt their chances of finishing in the top-four in La Liga. They paid Borussia Dortmund a first sum of £ 96.8million for them in 2017 – the deal reaching £ 135.5million if all covenants were met, which is not the case – this which means it would be a financial disaster if he left with a free transfer. .
Alternatively, they could seek to keep Dembele by signing him into a new deal ASAP and restructuring his contract which would allow them to sign Torres as well. It would also work in two stages as it would allow them to continue paying the hefty fees owed to Borussia Dortmund over a longer period of time.
Despite his poor injury record, Dembele will not be short of suitors so it may be difficult for Barcelona to reach the latter.
Sergi Roberto is another player with an expiring contract who could negotiate a new deal that plays down what is owed to him in the short term.
Barca have a dilemma on their hands with Ousmane Dembele out of touch this summer
Why are Barcelona so keen on Torres?
Put simply, Xavi doesn’t have a center-forward he can count on and this hole is glaring.
As Mundo Deportivo reported earlier this week, Torres is of particular interest to Xavi as he wants a forward who “opens the pitch, is quick and a finisher” – all attributes the City man possesses.
Against Sevilla they had many chances to win the game but ruined them all.
Barcelona boss Xavi is desperate to sign a striker in the upcoming January transfer window
They sprinkled the hosts’ goal with shots and crosses in the first half and played most of the second with an extra man after Jules Kounde was sent off, but couldn’t secure a winner.
With Ansu Fati injured and Sergio Aguero having retired, they are left with a mix of out of form and out of position players in the 4-3-3 lineup Xavi wants.
On Wednesday, it was Dembele, Ferran Jutgla and Abde Ezzalzouli who led their first row. When Jutgla left, Gavi – who was playing as one of three central midfielders – took the lead first. Center-forward Luuk de Jong didn’t come on until the 85th minute, highlighting Xavi’s take on his current center-forward options.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” Xavi said after the game, via Marca, after their 1-1 draw at Sevilla. “I think we performed well, but obviously we need to improve.
“We won a point, but we have to be patient. It’s a shame because we had them.
“It’s hard to take, not to win. It’s gonna be hard for me to sleep. I think we should have won.
Ferran Jutgla started at Barca’s forward in La Liga 1-1 draw on Tuesday night in Sevilla
Why is Torres trading Barca stuttering for juggernaut City?
Be the main man. At City, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez have all spent some time as a center forward this season. Young Cole Palmer was also used in this position in the Carabao Cup loss to West Ham.
In Barcelona, it would be different. He could be expected to play the role of center-forward and even at times to line up widely with Memphis Depay taking on the role of No.9 as well.
Pep Guardiola remained determined to maintain that any City player can seek new pasture if they are not satisfied and come up with an acceptable offer from another club.
Torres, who has scored nine Premier League goals in 19 starts, believed he deserved more chances and didn’t believe the manager’s public praise for his performance matched regular opportunities.
He hasn’t played since October after injuring his foot in an international match with Spain and a return to his homeland would allow national manager Luis Enrique to see him up close ahead of the FIFA World Cup. ‘next year.
Pep Guardiola remained determined to keep any City player able to seek new pasture
A return to his homeland would allow Torres to carve out a place in Spain’s national XI.