Xavi Hernandez will have less than €10 million to spend on strengthening Barcelona‘s squad in January after replacing Ronald Koeman as coach at Camp Nou, sources have told ESPN.
Barca CEO Ferran Reverter said earlier this year the club would have €20m available for transfers in the winter based on LaLiga‘s €97m spending limit for the season, but circumstances have changed since then.
The costs involved in firing Koeman and hiring Xavi, though, will not have a major effect on spending moving forward, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Koeman’s payoff is still being negotiated but could be as much as €12m, while the clause to release Xavi from his contract with Al Sadd was fixed at €5m, although president Joan Laporta has been cagey on the breakdown of how that was paid and if it was paid in full.
Due to losses accrued over the last two seasons, LaLiga slashed Barca’s spending cap for the season, which includes money spent on signings and wages, among other things, from over €300m to just €97m. Gross debt has also reached €1.4 billion.
Xavi, 41, was officially presented as Barca coach on Monday and took his first training session on Tuesday. He is taking advantage of the international break to meet with the club’s hierarchy to make plans ahead of the window opening in January.
Sources have told ESPN that the former Spain international’s priority is to add another forward to the ranks, preferably a player that can play wide. Striker Sergio Aguero has been ruled out for at least three months with a heart problem, while Ansu, Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite have all suffered injury issues this season.
Financial restrictions will force Barca to look for low-cost options or loans, with the possibility of making the deal permanent in the future.
Barca will also not be able to hand out big salaries although it is not clear yet exactly how much they will be able to offer. While their spending limit is only the seventh highest in the league, they could make room on their wage bill by moving on other players in January.
Therefore, sources explain that Barca are likely to rule out signing right-back Dani Alves on a free transfer after the Brazil international offered himself to the club following his departure from Sao Paulo. They will instead focus on using the little money they do have available elsewhere.
Meanwhile, sporting director Ramon Planes will not be involved in the recruitment process after he told the club he would like to be freed from his contract. Planes, who played a key role in the signings of Pedri and Ronald Araujo, is keen to take on a new challenge elsewhere.
It is unclear at this stage whether Barca will look to replace him or if they feel they are well covered in that area with director of football Mateu Alemany and Jordi Cruyff, who returned to the club in an advisory role earlier this year.
Xavi takes over with Barca languishing in ninth in LaLiga after 12 games. His first fixture in charge is the Catalan derby against Espanyol on Nov. 20, with a must-win Champions League clash against Benfica following three days later at Camp Nou.