Barcelona look to free agent signings amid coronavirus pandemic

Barcelona are focusing their scouting efforts on players who are out of contract or who have a year remaining on their current deals, in order to cut costs.

The details are outlined by a report in ESPN – joint written by Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden, who both cover the club – which claims that the Blaugrana’s economic situation and cut costs are ensuring they must refine their transfer strategy.

The coronavirus outbreak has brought sport across the world to a halt with Spanish football suspended indefinitely – meaning that all clubs have no income from matchdays or, for the elite clubs, their museums.

A Barcelona statement on Monday confirmed that the senior squad had agreed to a wage reduction of over 70% until the resumption of football due to the impact the pandemic was having on the club’s income streams.

Inter striker Lautaro Martinez and the club’s former star Neymar, now at Paris Saint-Germain, are said to be prime targets for the club this year but the fresh report casts doubt on their spending power.

Club president Josep Maria  Bartomeu said in an interview with Diario Sport this week: “I do not want to discuss names, but we will be in a position to make transfers for players that we want to sign.

“We are the most profitable club in world football and we can sign the players that we want at this club.

“The club are not in danger. We have other sources of income aside from ticket sales and TV rights, as we have football schools and the club museum.

“It is true that the state of emergency impacts us more than other clubs, but it also means we can react quicker when it is over to make money.

“In February we were ahead of our ambitious projections for making money, as we continue to be the highest earning football club in the world – so now it is about how we react.

“We predict that this transfer market will have a lot less money because of the (coronavirus) pandemic, but there will still be a lot of moves and I predict player exchange deals.”