Barcelona activate third ‘economic lever’ — but uncertainty over summer signings continues

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Monday that the club would activate a third “economic lever” by selling a percentage of their Barca Studios production house, while also admitting that it was unclear whether La Liga would agree they were now in a position to register their summer signings.

Laporta said at Jules Kounde’s unveiling that Barcelona had agreed to sell 25 per cent of their Barca Studios arm to the controversial blockchain-enabled fan token platform Socios.com, for €100million (£83.7m).

Laporta added that he hoped this agreement would enable the club to register all of their summer signings. The Spanish club have signed Pablo Torre, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski this summer, in addition to Kounde.

Ousmane Dembele is also not currently registered with La Liga as he is treated as a new player because his previous contract expired before he eventually rejoined the club.

But The Athletic understands that a deal with Socios was not yet completed at the time of Laporta’s announcement, while any investment would not see Barcelona presented with the entire sum of €100m up front.

Despite his optimism, Laporta did admit that he was uncertain whether Barcelona would be permitted to register their new signings under La Liga financial rules.

“I have the feeling that we are completing a task, despite the challenges,” he replied, when asking if the club’s third “economic lever” would enable them to register their new players.

“Interpreting the fair-play rules is not easy, and our rivals take advantage of the situation, saying this and that about Barca.”

He added: “I hope our interpretation is the same as La Liga’s, and they are not going to block the registering of players. If not, we will find a solution. We are working on the departures (of unwanted players) but it is not easy.”

Barcelona want to continue adding to their squad before their La Liga campaign begins with a game against ​​Rayo Vallecano on August 13 and have been linked to Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, as well as the Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso.

But Laporta said the club were working on registering their new signings before they returned to the market.

“First we need to make progress with the players already signed,” he said. “Then we will see if we can make the additions the coach is asking for.”

Barcelona have already announced two “economic levers” this summer.

At the start of the summer, the financially-stricken club sold 10 per cent of their television rights for the next 25 years to Sixth Street, for a total capital gain of €267million (£228m, $272m).

Barcelona last month activated their second lever by selling an additional 15 per cent to the same company, meaning in total Sixth Street have acquired a total of 25 per cent of the club’s TV rights deals until 2047.

Kounde is the club’s sixth signing and they have spent over €150m on new players, but as it stands Torre, Kessie, Christensen, Raphinha, Lewandowski and Kounde will not be able to star for Xavi’s team in the league this season.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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Explained: Barcelona’s economic ‘levers’ and summer transfer plans

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