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Liverpool get stark Franck Kessié transfer reminder as £178m Barcelona madness proves FSG edge

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Persistently linked with Liverpool last summer, Franck Kessié has been a Barcelona player in all but name for weeks, along with Andreas Christensen. But as July 1 rolled around, there was no announcement on the free agents. There was, however,

news of a £178m agreement to sell 10 per cent of the club’s television rights for the next 25 years to a US private equity firm.

With that deal in the bag, Joan Laporta was finally able to announce Christensen and Kessié. But this need for novel income is a damning indictment of where Barcelona find themselves, and it is only really the tip of the iceberg.

At the same time as club members approved a deal to sell off some of the TV rights, they also green-lighted a proposal to sell off up to 49.9 per cent of the club’s retail arm.

Given the scale of Barcelona’s brand, this is a very big deal. Nor is it limited to 25 years: the Catalans would be ceding this stake forever.

The contrast to Liverpool could hardly be more stark. FSG have put in painstaking efforts to try and grow these sides of the business.

They have invested heavily in content to help expand the club’s following off the pitch, while the kit deal with Nike was structured so as to maximise retail revenue.

The owners view these things as the path to a sustainable football team, not as bargaining chips to help get transfers over the line.

Barcelona would say that they are only having to do this in order to circumvent the La Liga spending cap rules. Having vastly exceeded their limits, they can now only spend a portion of what they earn,

and are therefore trapped in a desperate quest for one-off income sources. But whatever the reason, these latest decisions look truly dubious.

After all, the goal is meant to be to return to long-term financial stability. Two major repeat revenue sources have now simply been discarded, in the hope of somewhat improving the situation on the pitch.

At best, it is a major gamble on Christensen, Kessié and whoever else they can sneak through the door.

But even if the assembled team conquers all before it, the financial case will be a hard one to make.

Barcelona were already getting significant Champions League money, and performance-related uplifts are unlikely to fill the gap left by 10 per cent of the TV rights and essentially half of the retail arm.

Listen to “Blood Red Reaction Special: Mohamed Salah signs contract at Liverpool until 2025”.

Liverpool, who contributed to this mess when they flogged Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona for an ungodly sum,

will be feeling immensely relieved to have FSG at the helm. At times, there have been frustrations in the transfer market, but at least the family silver is safe.

Last summer, for instance, there were major calls for a new midfielder, particularly following the departure of Gini Wijnaldum. It’s why Kessié was linked so persistently.

Sure enough, as the campaign unfolded, there were moments when an extra body capable of covering at number six would have been welcome. But with the effects of the pandemic still being felt, Liverpool decided to go without.

They nearly got an unprecedented quadruple to show for it. While Fabinho cover would have been good, Liverpool weighed up their need against their resources, and had a quiet summer — without jeopardising their on-pitch dominance.

Now, with revenue streams bouncing back, they have funnelled major resources towards Darwin Núñez, with deals for Calvin Ramsay and Fábio Carvalho also being struck.

Liverpool are being run sustainably, their future safeguarded by FSG. With nothing left to sell, Barcelona are flogging their identity.

Fans will be reminded of that fact every time they set foot in the ‘Spotify Camp Nou.’ They just better hope Franck Kessié is worth it.

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Barcelona youngster in line to bench Jordi Alba for Real Sociedad clash – report

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As Barcelona drew 0-0 against Rayo Vallecano for the season opener, Jordi Alba was among the five to be substituted off to make way for offensive depth. The Spaniard is usually among the brightest offensive outlets in the team, but failed to make an impact last week.

Alba also looked out of his depth during pre-season, and it was reported that people within Barcelona were surprised that he started over Alejandro Balde.

The 18-year-old was impressive during the run-up to the league opener, and was expected to take Alba’s place in the lineup.

While that did not happen vs Rayo, Javi Miguel reports that he is in line to start against Real Sociedad as the left-back. Xavi has informed Balde about his decision, and has told him to train with high intensity leading up to the game.

Balde has been linked with an exit from Barcelona, especially given Marcos Alonso’s imminent arrival. However, an impressive performance at Anoeta could open the doors for his continuity.

The Chelsea defender has reportedly completed his move to Barcelona, subject to registrations and signatures. The club plan to announce it in the coming days if they are able to register Jules Kounde in time for the game.

Balde played in every single one of Barça’s pre-season fixtures, even registering an assist — to Raphinha —, against Inter Miami.

Barcelona fans will hope the gamble pays dues, especially because it will likely not go down well with Alba, who is one of the team captains

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Barcelona yet to receive any offers for exit-bound right back, price tag sits at €20m

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Barcelona are said to be pushing Sergino Dest towards an exit, but a recent report from journalist Adria Albets has confirmed that the player does not have any offer at the moment.

Regardless of what has been said in the past, neither have Manchester United tabled any formal offer for the right-back, nor have they made contacts with the 21-year-old’s representative.

For the moment, Barcelona are clear pretty clear about offloading Dest but in order to fulfil the operation, they are demanding in excess of €20 million.

For that particular reason, his agents are finding it hard to find a suitor as no club is willing to match the valuation for a player who is already fallen down the pecking order.

Xavi has so far preferred to use make-shift centre-back, Ronald Araujo, as a full-back. And while the Uruguayan has done well at times, it’s pretty clear that the team is looking to bring in a full-time right-back this summer.

For that, several players such as Hector Bellerin, Juan Foyth, Diogo Dalot, Thomas Meunier and Jeremie Frimpong have been considered, but there remain several complications in carrying out the operation

To begin with, Villarreal’s valuation of €42 million for Juan Foyth is proving to be a hindrance.

Barcelona are finding themselves in this situation mostly because their attempt to sign a certain Cesar Azpilicueta failed.

Meanwhile, as far as Dest is concerned, he knows in order to get regular minutes, he needs to move away from Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s asking price of €20 million is putting a stop to his desire.

Manchester United were thought to be weighing up a fresh move worth €20 million for the defender, but the Premier League side is yet to make any formal move. Hence, the Dutch-born American defender continues to train within the Barcelona ranks for the time being.

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

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Report: Chelsea prepared to listen to offers for their ‘huge talent’, will demand nearly £60m

Chelsea would reportedly prefer to sell Christian Pulisic rather than loan him out this summer.

According to The Sun, Manchester United are interested in signing the 23-year-old Blues attacker on loan

is understood that Chelsea would rather offload the American on a permanent basis, though.

The report says they’ll listen to offers for Pulisic during the next couple of weeks, but want to recuperate the full £58million they paid for him a few years ago.

With Chelsea demanding nearly £60million for the forward, will any club step forward with a bid?

Chelsea prefer to sell Pulisic

It makes little sense doing Man United a favour by sending them Pulisic on loan, so you can fully understand why a permanent transfer would make much more sense.

Described as a “huge talent” earlier this year by Gary Neville, Pulisic is a player that frustrates supporters at Stamford Bridge.

The winger can produce moments of brilliance in the final third, but there’s no major consistency in his game.

He finished last season with eight goals and five assists in 38 matches across all competitions, which wasn’t a bad return considering he missed a couple of months with an ankle problem

However, the United States international can’t seem to become a real favourite under Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

His 2019/20 campaign is proof of what a talented player he can be.

The forward had 21 direct goal contributions in 34 Blues appearances, but it was a familiar case of injuries interrupting him whenever he builds up some momentum.

It would be quite a surprise if a clubs willing to fork out a near-£60million sum for him.

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