Barcelona still owe Liverpool almost €70m for Philippe Coutinho, who made the switch to Camp Nou from Anfield three years ago and has since been loaned out to – and returned from – Bayern Munich.
Liverpool are due €29m of that amount in the short-term and have invoiced Barça accordingly, but it appears the Reds are not the only ones waiting on money from the Catalan giants. Astonishingly, there are 19 clubs in total, with Juventus owed sums for two players, and a monumental transfer debt of €323m.
The figures are disclosed in Barcelona’s latest accounts and they owe €126m on the outstanding transfers in the short-term and a further €197m in future commitments beyond the period in question. Even though deals are often negotiated to include instalments and staggered payments, it is an astronomical level of transfer debt to have accumulated.
Coutinho is the largest single short-term amount owed at just over €29m. The £142m fee that Liverpool agreed to sell for in December 2018 was heavily inflated by add-ons, with only £105m of that figure actually a guaranteed price.
But it was reported recently that all the add-ons have finally been triggered after the Brazilian player his 90th game for Barça. However, that doesn’t mean Liverpool have automatically been paid the full sum. Beyond the €29m, there is another €40m due in the future.
What is more startling from a Barcelona perspective is that there are still sizeable outstanding debts – both short-term and long-term – on players they have already sold.
Malcom wasn’t deemed good enough after only 24 appearances and joined Zenit St Petersburg for around the same €40m fee he was bought for. Yet Barca still owe almost €10m to Bordeaux in the short-term and another €10m in the long-term.
Similarly, Barca sold Arthur to Juventus last summer, but are still liable for almost €8m to Gremio now and then a further €13.5m. The Brazilian was sold in a part-exchange deal with Miralem Pjanic to help balance the books for last season, with Juventus owed just under €5m for the Bosnian international immediately and almost €60m in total.
Barca triggered a buy-back clause for Denis Suarez in 2016 to re-sign him from Villarreal. That deal wasn’t thought to be worth more than €3.5m, but it appears that €241,000 and a further €482,000 is still owed nearly five years on. Suarez was sold to Celta Vigo for €16m around 18 months ago.
The Catalans are yet to pay most of the money for Frenkie de Jong, whose €75m transfer was completed in the summer of 2019. In the short-term €16m is owed to Ajax, and €48m in the long-term. It would appear that Barça have hardly made a dent in the original fee.
Barcelona’s finances have been the subject of much coverage in recent weeks. Presidential candidate Victor Font admitted at the end of last year that the situation is ‘critical’, with the club’s overall debt now thought to be north of €800m.
It was recently reported in Spain that Barça have appealed to banks and lenders to delay payments dates on ‘imminent debts’ to prevent them defaulting and risking bankruptcy.