Barcelona and Chelsea have become unexpectedly intertwined in this transfer window, and mostly to their advantage, with the Blaugrana snapping up Andreas Christensen from us on a free transfer, then gazumping the Blues for both Raphinha and Jules Koundé (and, in a way, Ousmane Dembélé, too).
And they did all that while being, for all intents and purposes, broke as a joke.
Barca have been pulling various financial levers to mortgage away their club’s future for cash on hand — up to three now, and this one’s the scammiest of them all yet! — but reports emerging over the past couple days are painting a rather worrying picture for them, which may include a shortfall of €50-150m still. A fourth “lever” might be needed just to be able to register their current squad with the league, let alone complete transfers for additional targets, such as César Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso.
While various reports place the blame on those two defenders still wearing Chelsea Blue on various factors — Chelsea “blocking” the transfers is a good one, largely by having the temerity to ask for non-miniscule transfer fees — but regardless of who’s “fault” it may be, they both remain with us on the eve of the new season.
Azpilicueta has no intention of causing problems at the club so he has to wait, to see if Chelsea's stance softens or Barcelona pay.— Tom Allnutt (@TomAllnutt_) August 3, 2022
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s desperate need for cash could be helped by outgoing transfers, but there’s been surprisingly little action, and certainly no action of any real consequence on that front. Chelsea and Manchester United have been strongly linked with Frenkie De Jong, so that might change in the near future, but given the potential fees involved, I wouldn’t imagine this is a high priority for us at the moment.
Barcelona want around €80m for Frenkie de Jong having previously agreed a slightly higher €85m deal with #MUFC. #CFC are now in direct talks. De Jong has been consistent that he wants to stay but refused to take a pay cut. He is more open to Stamford Bridge than Old Trafford.— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) August 3, 2022
Similarly, recent reports have linked Chelsea to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (not Memphis Depay), who of course used to play under Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund. But this idea remains even further in the realm of speculation, especially as Chelsea seem to be making enquiries of any and all players just for the fun of it.