Barcelona is reportedly set to start “operation exit” which will see several players depart the Camp Nou in the summer transfer window in a bid to slash the wage bill and raise funds to potentially finance a high-profile signing.
Defender Junior Firpo, midfielders Carles Alena and Miralem Pjanic, as well as striker Martin Braithwaite are mentioned as being potentially the first players to leave, according to Catalan daily Diario Sport.
Alena is wanted by Valencia, Granada and Getafe as well as Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers. The midfielder spent last season on loan at Getafe and a permanent deal will be sought this summer as his contract expires in 2022.
Elsewhere, Firpo has been linked with AC Milan, Inter, Southampton, and West Ham United. Pjanic is said to be “open to a return” to Juventus, where former coach Massimiliano Allegri has returned as coach, and “feels he made a mistake” moving to the Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, Braithwaite wants to stay and feels he can still play a role as a squad player but Barca does not share his opinion. The club wants to “find an exit that is beneficial for everyone” but may have to wait until after the European Championship as Braithwaite is involved with the Denmark squad.
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Problems With Umtiti, Coutinho, and Fernandes
Barca also wants to sell unwanted trio Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, and Matheus Fernandes but may find it a difficult process. The report adds that Umtiti does not want to leave and his high salary will put off potential buyers.
Coutinho is also in a tricky situation and does not want to make a decision on his future until after he’s returned from injury. The Brazilian has not played in 2021 after suffering a knee injury that required a second operation in April.
The club has also received zero interest in Fernandes. The youngster has just finished his first season at Barcelona and didn’t make a single appearance in La Liga. His only game time came as a late substitute in a Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev.
Are Other Departures On The Cards?
Barcelona could also let other players leave. Winger Francisco Trincao has emerged as a target for Wolves but coach Ronald Koeman is still yet to make a decision on his future, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.
Center-back Gerard Pique will stay on at the club, and may take a pay cut, but Clement Lenglet could be offloaded along with Umtiti, according to Javi Miguel at AS. The club has just brought in Eric Garcia on a free transfer and also has youngsters Oscar Mingueza and Ronald Araujo available.
The departures of Umtiti and Lenglet could allow Barca to sign a new center-back to add experience to what would be a youthful backline with Garcia, Mingueza and Araujo all 22 or under.
Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, and Juventus center-back Matthijs de Ligt have all been linked with a Camp Nou move but will certainly not come cheap.