Carlos Tusquets, Barcelona’s acting president, says the club should have sold Lionel Messi in the summer and has revealed players won’t be paid in January.
Barcelona’s interim president Carlos Tusquets believes the club should have cashed in on the sale of Lionel Messi during the summer transfer window.
Tusquets has also revealed that Barca will delay players’ wage payments scheduled for January amid what he described as a worrying financial situation.
In the close season, Messi was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City and sent a recorded delivery (Burofax) letter stating his intention to leave.
He later said the decision was due to being disillusioned with the direction the now-former board had taken the club.
Ex-Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned in October rather than face a vote of no confidence, with Tusquets taking temporary charge until January’s elections.
“Economically speaking, I would have sold Messi in the summer window,” Tusquets told RAC1 radio station.
“Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill as well as the money you make, it would have been desirable. But this is something the coaching staff have to consent to and that’s not my place.
“La Liga are setting salary limits at the moment and this would have helped on that front.”
Messi’s current contract expires in June, when he is expected to leave for free and on Wednesday former Barca teammate Neymar spoke of his desire to link up with the Argentine again.
“What I want most of all is to play with Messi again, to be able to enjoy him once again on the pitch,” he said after his club PSG’s 3-1 Champions League win against Manchester United.
“I want to play with him next year, for sure. We have to do it next season.”
Tusquets said that scenario was unlikely to transpire at the Nou Camp, where the purse strings have been tightened following the COVID-19 crisis.
“If he (Neymar) became available on a free transfer then maybe we could think about signing him,” he said.
“Without making sales, there’s no money for new signings unless the new president has incredibly deep pockets.”
Last week, Barca announced they had reached an agreement with the first-team squad for a wage cut in a bid to fall in line with new La Liga salary caps.
“In January, we can’t make salary payments…” Tusquets said.
“The players have two salary payments: one in January and another in July. We’ve delayed the January payment and other payments, such as bonuses for winning trophies.”
He gave no indication of when the delayed payments would be made but insisted the club’s financial situation could be managed through to the end of the season.
“The agreement we’ve reached will allow us to get through to the end of the season without any treasury issues. This season is saved,” he said.
“The economic situation is worrying. It’s very bad, but we’ve got hope. When the ground is opened up, we’ll take in 220 million euros ($A360 million) without doing anything, and that goes up to 320 million euros ($A523 million) thanks to the sponsors.
“Meanwhile, we keep having to spend money. It’s a horrible situation but when the stadium is back in play, we’ll start to recoup money.”