What are you doing on June 30?
It’s pretty much slap bang in the middle of summer, so maybe it’s an impromptu barbecue in the park? Retreat to a beer garden safely knowing that Thursday is the new Friday? Buy the kids a tub of ice cream so everyone can cope with the unbearable heat?
These are all options if you are not involved in football. If you’re involved in football, chances are you’ll be running around screaming, trying to get things done, because this year June 30 seems to be the date around which the next season pivots.
It is a date that could have a significant impact on the short and medium term future of Barcelona, Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and half of the other Spanish teams, Paris Saint-Germain and Neymar, from Everton and a large number of EFL clubs. So not much then.
Let’s start with Barcelona. Their financial mess has been well documented, with Joan Laporta and the rest of the board trying to find increasingly creative ways to keep the club operating under the crushing weight of their €1.3 billion debt.
June 30 is so important because that day represents the end of their financial year, the outcome of which will determine the salary cap La Liga will impose on them when they make their own calculations, due on July 31.
So Barcelona need the money, and fast. That could come in a variety of creative ways, including the “financial levers” Laporta asked club members to pull earlier this month. This would either involve selling around half of Barca Licensing and Merchandising, the company that controls much of their business operations, or selling a maximum of 25% of their future TV revenue.
For a layman, even knowing he needs cash fast, selling long-term income for a short-term cash injection seems risky at best. “There are payday loan elements in all of this,” says Kieran Maguire, football finance expert and host of the Price Of Football podcast. “It’s a short-term solution with a long financial tail.”
As of this writing, no such sale has been confirmed but Laporta and the Barcelona board will do their utmost to deliver something before the clock strikes midnight on the 30th.
Again, for a layman, a much more sensible option would be to simply cut spending by selling some players, and then more importantly not bringing in other, potentially even more expensive, players. That’s why their pursuit of Robert Lewandowski seems so strange, but it’s Barcelona: they must always feel competitive, always glamorous, always able to attract the best stars, even if they barely have two pesetas to spare. to rub.
And in all honesty, they do too, as anyone who follows Frenkie de Jong’s torturous saga will attest. The current mood music seems to be that Barca and Manchester United have largely agreed a fee of £56m plus add-ons, but Barcelona’s need to raise funds by June 30 weighs on everything.
Barcelona aren’t the only Spanish club approaching financial D-Day. Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil said this week that his club must raise €40m by June 30 or they will also incur a loss during the year. If that happens, La Liga rules mean they could only spend one euro for every three they raise.
Valencia must also sell, with Carlos Soler and Goncalo Guedes the likeliest departures. Sevilla have already sold Diego Carlos to Aston Villa which has at least given them enough leeway that they don’t have to ship Jules Kounde for less than he’s worth. Espanyol could be content to find €25m, and Celta, Alaves, Real Sociedad and Real Betis are among the other clubs holding a garage sale to meet the La Liga deadline.
There is a similar, although somewhat less dramatic, situation in England. As in Spain, June represents the end of the financial year for several clubs, and the Premier League team that seems to be most at stake is Everton.
“Premier League club finances overall, from a financial fair play perspective, look quite healthy,” Maguire said. “But Everton are the club closest to the FFP limits.”
The short and simple version is that it would be extremely helpful if they could sell someone by June 30. The full picture is much more nuanced than that, as Patrick Boyland and Greg O’Keeffe explain here, but since June 30 it’s also been the end of the four-year FFP cycle (extended from the usual three to account for COVID-19 seasons), this is their last chance to add incoming funds to their 2021-22 profit and loss calculations.
The easiest way to do this is to bring in a big fee for a big player, echoing what Crystal Palace did a few years ago. “Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sold to Manchester United on June 30, 2019,” Maguire explains. “Palace had lost around £40m that year, but by selling Wan-Bissaka on June 30 and not July 1, the £40m loss turned into a £5m profit.”
So who will go? Dominic Calvert-Lewin would be an attractive candidate, mainly because he was bought for £1.5million in 2016, so selling him would represent ‘pure profit’, whereas the situation for a player who costs more is a little more complex.
To use a hypothetical example, let’s say Everton bought a player in 2018 for £25m on a five-year deal. For financial reporting purposes. these costs would be amortized over his deal, meaning his “book value” decreases by £5m every year. The book value of this player, who has been there for four years, is now said to be around £5million. If they sold him for £15m, then they could ‘book’ a profit of £10m. But if they sold Calvert-Lewin for £50m, almost all of that would fit into their calculations.
However, an injury-plagued season means there is a limited market for him. Elsewhere, Juventus have Moise Kean on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy in 2023, so why would they bring this forward just to suit Everton’s accounts? Tottenham are keen on Anthony Gordon, but it would be a big gamble – in many ways – to sell a homegrown youngster who, even with a new contract on the horizon, wouldn’t be among their highest earners.
All paths point to Richarlison, then. Tottenham and Chelsea are interested, but the problem is that everyone now knows Everton have to sell, so they don’t mind offering the best price. The feeling is that the most likely outcome will be the Brazilian’s departure, whoever can pay in time, but that’s far from certain.
If Everton don’t make this sale, the walls won’t exactly come down, but they won’t be able to make any meaningful signings this summer and will have to, like last year, rely on free transfers, loans, loans with options of purchase. , loans with purchase obligation and any other creative option that comes to mind.
And then there is Neymar. The man who remains the most expensive player in football history has felt increasingly irrelevant over the past year: he is, at best, his club’s third most important player, behind Lionel Messi and the world’s first striker/sportsman. director, Kylian Mbappé.
Nonetheless, the contract he signed in the spring of 2021 – billed at the time as a three-year extension committing him to PSG until 2025 – was actually a five-year extension. An additional year to the deal was triggered in early July 2021, and another year will come into effect in early July 2022, meaning his deal will now run until 2027.
Unless he leaves before this extension is triggered. Which would force someone else to take his salary and ideally give PSG some sort of transfer fee. The suggestion is that they would like him to find another club, but unsurprisingly there is no colossal queue to sign a 30-year-old who is on colossal wages, missed 18 games in the season last with various ailments and wasn’t exactly a world beater when he was fit to play.
Sources told Athleticism that Neymar would like to return to Barcelona, but even if they manage to emerge from under their financial rubble, they have other priorities. There has been speculation in the French media about Newcastle United, Chelsea or Manchester United as potential destinations, but Neymar has been pretty clear that he doesn’t want to play in England.
“I expected all the players to do more than last season,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said last week, in theory speaking of the whole team, but you don’t have to squint. too many eyes to read between the lines. “A lot more. The message is clear: work every day at 200%. Those who want to stay in their comfort zone will stay away.
Basically, if you think he’s now non-transferable, extending his contract would make him absolutely, totally non-transferable, a contract that will last until he’s 35. These few days therefore represent the last hope, for a few years at least, of moving from all the experience. Otherwise, he will stay at PSG and everyone will have to do their best.
All of these extraordinary events are on top of the usual frenzy of expiring contracts, which is a financial consideration for these clubs as many players receive bonuses when their deals end. A Football League player, for example, is thought to owe £27,000 when he leaves a club who, let’s put it simply, could do without paying £27,000 to a player heading for the door.
Finally, after all that, real football. Thursday will see England’s final friendly ahead of Euro 2022 against Switzerland in Zurich, their final tune-up ahead of the tournament opener against Austria next Wednesday.
It’s the last chance for Sarina Wiegman to ponder the answers to the remaining questions about her team. Who will play in front? Is there room for Fran Kirby? And Ella Toone? Who will start at left-back? Does the 5-1 win over the Netherlands put undue pressure on a team already under pressure?
If nothing else, watching this might be a good way for anyone trying to figure out all the financial chicanery to clear their brains a bit. That, or the ice cream thing.
(Additional reporting: Patrick Boyland, Adam Crafton and Dermot Corrigan)
(Top photos: Getty Images; design: Sam Richardson)