Barcelona have been able to register summer signings Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia — as well as forward Rey Manaj — ahead of the new LaLiga season thanks to Gerard Pique accepting a “substantial” pay cut, the club announced on Saturday.
LaLiga’s strict spending limits, based on an analysis of a club’s income and outgoings, had left Barca struggling to have the players available for their first game of the new campaign, even after the departure of Lionel Messi.
“FC Barcelona is able to register Memphis, Eric Garcia and Rey Manaj to play in the Spanish Liga de Futbol Profesional,” the club said in a statement. “This has been made possible thanks to an agreement with Gerard Pique whereby the Barça second captain’s salary has been substantially reduced.”
It added: “The club is also continuing to work with two of the other captains, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, to adapt their salaries to the club’s current situation. It must be noted that both players are totally and utterly willing to cooperate.”
The move means coach Ronald Koeman will have a full squad to choose from as Barca host Real Sociedad on Sunday.
Barcelona’s spending cap — the total sum it is allowed to spend on playing and coaching staff — has fallen from over €600 million in the 2019-20 season to an expected €200m now, due to financial problems exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
That made it impossible for the club to register an agreed new five-year contract with Messi, whose previous deal had expired, leading the forward to join Paris Saint-Germain this week.
It also meant that while Barca had announced the signings of Memphis and Garcia in June, the pair had not been officially registered with LaLiga until now.
In its statement on Saturday, the club also cited the work done in terms of outgoing player sales and loans to ensure the inclusion of the new arrivals.
“Jean-Clair Todibo was sold for €8 million to Nice, Junior Firpo went to Leeds United for €15m, [Francisco] Trincao was loaned to Wolverhampton Wanderers for €6m, Carles Alena was traded to Getafe for €5m and Konrad De La Fuente left for Marseille in exchange for €3.5m,” it said.
“The latter two operations were at 50% because they included the right to repurchase. In addition, Matheus Fernandes‘ contract was terminated.”