Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said the amount of money being spent in this transfer window was “absurd” given the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that he had accepted his side could no longer compete with the top sides for players.
Little more than a year after the pandemic slashed the budgets of sides such as Barca, transfer spending among several of Europe’s richest clubs has recovered at a remarkable rate.
Manchester City signed Jack Grealish for 100 million sterling, Chelsea paid 97 million pounds for Romelu Lukaku and Real Madrid have offered Paris St Germain 180 million euro for Kylian Mbappe.
Cristiano Ronaldo has completed a return to Manchester United and is set to earn 480 000 pounds per week according to British media.
“These figures are absurd, we’re in a world where everyone has had financial problems lately so it’s crazy to pay so much given the situation,” Koeman told reporters before Sunday’s home game with Getafe in LaLiga.
The Dutchman also said he would not begrudge Madrid signing Mbappe.
“If Madrid have the money to spend on him… he’s one of the best players in the world and I’d also like to have Mbappe in my team,” he said.
“Every club wants to improve their squad; if you can improve your squad with a player like that, perfect.”
Barca bought three players for more than 100 million euro between 2018 and 2019 but have been able to bring in only players on free transfers in this window due to their deep financial troubles.
They were also forced to part ways with Lionel Messi when they failed to comply with LaLiga’s financial fair play regulations and Koeman admitted it would be some time before the club would be able to return to their previous spending levels.
“It’s frustrating but you also have to be realistic and the club cannot compete financially with clubs like PSG, City or United. That’s the way it is and we have to accept it,” he said.
“It’ll take a long time to improve our financial situation, it won’t happen today or tomorrow. We cannot demand that the club spends like in previous times and people have to recognise what the club is doing at this time, we are changing the way we do things and bringing in young players.
“We’re also missing six or seven players and that’s a lot. But despite that, we’re hopeful and confident about building a good side.”
Barca were held to a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao last week after beating Real Sociedad 4-2 in their opening game.
They will be without their two first-choice centre-backs against Getafe as Gerard Pique is injured and Eric Garcia is suspended.
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