Are Barcelona back? Or still using quick fixes for long-term problems?

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Barcelona signed two for one. First came Ferran Torres, the footballer they wanted, joining for €55m plus €10m more in add-ons. Then came Samuel Umtiti, the footballer they didn’t and still don’t but whom they needed so that Torres could actually play. Registered now and recovered from Covid, the former Manchester City forward’s first game is set to be a clásico, if not on the most classic stage. At the third attempt, the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh gets to host the game they paid for.

Within 2 hours on Monday morning Barcelona After boarding a plane to Saudi Arabia for the semi-final meeting between Spain’s Super Cup and Real Madrid, the club announced that Yumtiti had extended the contract. The contract ends in 2026 instead of 2023. Clubs are rarely true anyway, and vice versa. There was no celebration, and there was no pretense that this was anything other than another postponed problem, a long-term effort that was a short-term solution.

Barcelona has long tried to get rid of Umtiti, who has long problems with knee problems, salaries they can’t afford (comparable to his position as World Cup winner), and lack of team space. I was there. There is no good intentions from the fans, but it will probably change now. The 28-year-old defender has played once this season, and despite being on a plane, it’s almost certain he won’t play in Saudi Arabia. At least yet, few clubs wanted him, and he wasn’t keen on leaving. It was considered to force him out, but it was excluded.

But no one expected them to extend the contracts of unwanted players.

This was neither a change of mind nor a reassessment of his usefulness, and it certainly does not change the fact that they want him to go faster rather than later. They did not conclude that if he did not go, he might be useful in the end. Well, anyway, it’s not on the pitch.

Then he turned out not only to be useful, but also necessary and a means to an end.Barcelona didn’t wait for two minutes Announce his deal When Explain the reason They did it, it wasn’t about him. Quoting the updated tweet, they say: “This contract extension will allow FC Barcelona to increase its” Financial Fair Play “allocation and register Ferran Torres. “

And there it was in a nutshell. In all probability there are promises made and details that escape us, agreements reached and not revealed which help explain why the terms were accepted. But the way Barcelona explained it, essentially Umtiti had done them a favour: he had agreed to a short-term 10% pay-cut and to spread the salary he was due to receive between now and 2023 across the next three years to 2026.

An imaginative way to overcome an inherited problem which was constructed by Mateu Alemany, the director of football; one that may not resolve the underlying financial difficulties but does allow Barcelona to overcome an immediate obstacle. And there it was in a nutshell. In all likelihood there are guarantees made and particulars that escape us, agreements reached and never revealed which assist clarify why the phrases have been accepted.

But the way in which Barcelona defined it, basically Umtiti had executed them a favour: he had agreed to a short-term 10% pay-cut and to unfold the wage he was because of obtain between now and 2023 throughout the subsequent three years to 2026. An imaginative strategy to overcome an inherited drawback which was constructed by Mateu Alemany, the director of soccer; one that won’t resolve the underlying monetary difficulties however does permit Barcelona to beat a right away impediment.

Plans run in parallel: short, medium and long term. Ultra short term, too. This latest, left-field announcement is the perfect example of that, an imperfect solution but a solution of sorts. “The reality is that when we signed Ferran we knew that we didn’t have any margin with the salary limit,” Alemany said. “We made an exception with Ferran because it was worth it. We accept that and we’re working on various avenues to register him.”

Even the long, long-awaited departure of Philippe Coutinho was not enough – there was no sale and Barcelona are paying about 45% of his salary. Ousmane Dembélé’s renewal, structured to create margin, remains on hold and may not happen. Sergi Roberto’s future has not been resolved. And so that avenue unexpectedly became Umtiti. On Monday, recently renewed, Umiti was on the plane bound for the Spanish Super Cup and a meeting with Real Madrid, but that wasn’t what mattered; what mattered was that Torres was on board with him.

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