Premier League clubs have been placed on high alert after Barcelona were reported to have put their entire first-team squad – minus three stand-out stars – up for sale.
The LaLiga leaders are looking to make wholesale changes this summer and are reported by ESPN to have put a number of high-profile stars up for sale.
Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele will be the highest profile casualties, with the likes of Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Nelson Semedo, Carles Alena and Arthur also reportedly up for sale should suitable bids come along.
Coutinho has been strongly linked with Arsenal and Manchester United, though reports this week stated that Chelsea were closing in on a deal for the former Liverpool man, amid claims he is looking to resurrect his fading career back in the Premier League.
And Barcelona hope the firesale will allow boss Quique Setien to radically change the look of his side next season, with the club keen to bring the likes of Neymar and Lautaro Martinez to the club and form a new-look attack.
Barca would likely need to spend around €200m to bring their former attacker Neymar back to the club from PSG – three years after he left for the French capital in a world-record fee – and are thought to have already offered the Ligue 1 giants their pick of five players to help finance the move.
Argentine forward Martinez does not come cheap either, with the Inter Milan star having a €111m exit clause in his deal. His countryman Messi – rated himself in the €250m bracket – has already indicated his willingness to form a new-look attack with the 22-year-old.
And la Blaugrana hope their new €561m strikeforce can finally propel the club back towards Champions League glory, having failed to lift the trophy since 2015.
As per the report, only Messi, midfielder Frenkie De Jong and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter-Stegen have been deemed ‘non-transferable’, though the report does not mention Clement Lenglet who has become a regular in the side since his move from Sevilla.
Despite their financial concerns – which has seen their entire squad take a pay-cut – Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted the Spanish giants are still capable of signing the world’s elite stars.
“There is not going to be as much money in the transfer market because of the pandemic,” Bartomeu said. “But I predict that we are going to see a lot more swap deals.”
One such swap deal could see Chelsea and Barcelona come to some sort of agreement over Coutinho, with a much-heralded Blues midfielder reportedly set to move the opposite way.