Xavi admits financial restrictions could hinder Barcelona summer transfer plans

Manager says economic situation remains huge issue at club ahead of La Liga match against Celta Vigo on Tuesday

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele could leave the club on free transfer this summer. AFP
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Barcelona manager Xavi admits he is unsure how the club's financial problems will affect his summer transfer spending plans.

The Catalan giants take on Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Tuesday with the team sitting second in the table, 12 points behind champions Real Madrid and four ahead of Sevilla, with three La Liga games left.

It has been a tough campaign for Xavi, who took over from the sacked Ronald Koeman in November with the club sitting ninth in the table.

They were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage and dropped down to the Europa League for the first time since 2014. And any hopes of a consolation trophy in European football's second-tier competition were ended by German side Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals.

On the domestic front, arch rivals Real have dominated from the start in La Liga, while Barca were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao at the last-16 stage.

The club did make some moves in the transfer market with the likes of Dani Alves, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all arriving during the transfer window.

That gave Barca enough of a boost that they are now in pole position to secure second spot in the league and enjoyed a 4-0 Clasico thrashing of Real in March.

But Xavi, whose team will play their home games at the city's Olympic Stadium while the iconic Camp Nou is renovated in the 2023-24 season, has had to deal with huge financial restraints with the club claiming they have had to cut €159 million ($179m) from their wage bill due to the previous board's reckless spending.

Barca player ratings in 2-1 win at Real Betis

And how this will impact any potential new signings before the start of next season is unclear. “I think it is important that we bring reinforcements to the team, and everyone who will join us is welcome. But we have to look at the difficulty of it because of the economic situation,” said Xavi, whose team won 2-1 at Real Betis on Saturday thanks to a last-gasp goal by Jordi Alba.

“I will be part of the team that is planning for next season. I have a good relationship with the president and administration. We will see what we can do in the summer to strengthen the team and be more competitive.”

One of Europe's hottest properties, Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, looks set to join former Barca player and manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City - the type of player the Catalans would previously have been one of the favourites to sign.

“It’s not officially done. So I have no comment. When it’s official, you can ask me again,” Xavi said of the Norwegian's potential new home. “It is difficult for Haaland to join Barcelona because of the economic situation.”

Manager Xavi has guided Barcelona up to second in the La Liga table. AP

One player whose future is still up in the air and could also have huge impact on next season's plans is Barca striker Ousmane Dembele, whose contract ends this summer and is in danger of leaving on a free transfer.

Fans have expressed their frustration at the attacker, bought from Dortmund in 2017 in a deal worth €140m, for refusing to sign a new contract but Xavi insists he “has no doubts with him” and hopes a deal can still be agreed.

“Once again I’m saying that all players have to adapt to the economic situation of the club,” said Xavi. “Dembele helps the team a lot, although he was unlucky not to score recently.

“He plays at the highest level. Negotiations are going on with his agent, things are not easy, but we will see. I hope he stays.”

Updated: May 09, 2022, 3:55 PM