Barcelona’s spending has come under scrutiny in recent seasons due to the club’s financial problems with the Catalans happy to splash out huge fees on players such as Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho, and Ousmane Dembele.
The club almost added Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno to that list, according to club president Anil Murthy. The chief has been overheard explaining how he almost sold the attacker to Barca in 2020 in leaked audios published by Superdeporte.
“I go to Barcelona to sell Rodrigo. Atletico wanted to buy him at first and later Barcelona. 63 million,” he said. “Rodrigo’s father wants two million in commission. I go with Ramón Planes, Oscar Grau, Abidal and they tell me: ‘Right, we can buy for 63 million no problem. We’re going to pay the two million to the dad, this year, but only 30 million for Fair Play and then [the rest sorted] next year and that’s that.’
Murthy then offered an explanation as to why the deal ended up falling through despite the Barcelona board’s willingness to stump up the huge fee needed to land Rodrigo.
“Yes, but are they going to be there next season?” he said. “Because if they are not, my name is there and I am going to Picassent. I left, I have nothing. These things happen so much in football.”
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What Happened Next?
Valencia ended up selling Rodrigo to Premier League side Leeds United for a fee of €30 million in August 2020. The striker scored 59 goals in 220 games for Los Che during his five years at Mestalla.
Leeds United’s club-record signing scored seven times in his first season at Elland Road and has just six in the current campaign. The Whites are deep in trouble at the bottom of the Premier League and are favorites to fill the third relegation place ahead of the final round of fixtures on Sunday, May 22.
Meanwhile, former president Bartomeu ended up resigning in October 2020 after coming up pressure from unhappy supporters. The club chief was facing a vote of no confidence after over 20,000 fans signed a motion to have him removed.
Joan Laporta replaced Bartomeu at the helm in March 2021, becoming Barcelona president for the second time in his career.
Laporta Meets Valencia Chiefs
Barcelona and Valencia could still end up doing business this summer. Laporta has been spotted meeting Valencia chiefs and was asked about the situation in an interview with Catalunya Radio, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
“The president of Valencia has come, we have eaten together and we have talked about issues that may interest the two clubs,” he said. “We have made a joke about the microphones. He was upset because of the recorded conversations. I was surprised that they had done this to him. I will not talk about the content of the meal. It is true that these are times when these issues must be addressed.”
The two clubs discussed the defender José Gayà and midfielder Carlos Soler who have both been offered to Barcelona, as reported by Gerard Romero. Meanwhile, Valencia are interested in signing Martin Braithwaite, Sergino Dest and Riqui Puig, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Both teams have financial issues which means they could look to do business in the summer transfer window, although swap deals involving players are rare as they are notoriously difficult to pull off.