Spanish football's premier domestic competition, La Liga, has agreed a deal to sell 10 per cent of its business to a private equity firm.
In a bid to put the league and its clubs on a surer footing moving forward, La Liga has agreed to the €3bn (£2.6bn) deal with sports investors CVC Capital Partners, who had tried and failed to land a similar deal with Italy's Serie A earlier this year.
The deal is still to be voted on by clubs and could fail if the biggest, Barcelona and Real Madrid, take a similar stance as Italian football did where clubs including Juventus and Inter Milan deemed the £1.5bn deal for a similar percentage to be too low.
The terms are more generous to Spanish clubs than they were for Italian clubs, with the Financial Times reporting that a sum of around £2.1bn would be distributed to La Liga members clubs in a bid to ease the effects of the pandemic, which has ravaged the finances of Barcelona and Real Madrid more than most these past 18 months.
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Barcelona recently landed a £430m restructuring loan through Goldman Sachs investment bank, a deal described by Barca sources, speaking to L'Esportiu, that would give stability to a club that needs to shave £200m off its wage bill before they can even register Lionel Messi again, not to mention their new free transfer signings of Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay.
Real's latest accounts have shown a €300m (£215m) loss despite them having not spent a penny on transfers since landing Eden Hazard from Chelsea for £100m back in the summer of 2019.
In normal circumstances it has long been accepted that Barcelona and Real Madrid are kinetic forces in the transfer market, the two Spanish giants arguably the most desirable 'destination' clubs for players. But due to their inability to sign players aside from free transfer additions it has seen the market fall flatter than it would normally have been and some major deals that had been mooted have simply not been allowed to happen.
Liverpool-linked Kylian Mbappe has been tipped to head to Real Madrid when he does eventually leave Paris Saint-Germain, and that might well have already happened had Madrid not had to fight so many financial fires, the impact on their bottom line so great that they had to implement considerable wage cuts.
Then there is Mohamed Salah. The Reds are looking to engage the Egyptian star on a new deal, something that has been made more likely to happen through Real Madrid's inability to pay the big money needed to prise him away from Anfield. Salah had been heavily linked with a switch to Madrid.
In the case of Barcelona, the Catalan club having more financial security through their restructuring loan has helped ease any worries Liverpool would have had lingering over the repayment of the remainder of the balance due from the Philippe Coutinho transfer fee.
The accounts published last October by Barca showed that the remaining amount owed to the Reds was £35.5m in both short and long-term payables. But the Reds have already received that money after selling their debt to a third party financial institution, although the terms of that deal could well have seen the Reds liable should Barca default on that debt, something that now won't happen.
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But the potential for fresh cash into Spanish football could well embolden the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid to re-enter the transfer market sooner than they were anticipating, especially in the wake of their failed plot to launch the European Super League along with Liverpool and nine others. Only Barca, Real and Juventus remain espoused to the idea of the ESL.
La Liga clubs are understood to have a directive from league officials to plan for a more sustainable infrastructure, but for clubs that have not spent in the market for two years, a windfall could well see them try and chase additions such as Salah and Mbappe while the situation allows.
But it is not cut and dried and the biggest Spanish clubs will be mindful of not underselling the value of their product, which is valued by CVC at around £20.6m, according the the Financial Times.
But they will also know that the potential to bring in considerable cash at a time when they have been badly burned by their historical recklessness, exposed by the pandemic, is a potential get out clause that will allow them the chance to appease the desire of demanding supporters who are used to seeing big money spent on big names.
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