Thursday, August 12, 2021
Trouble with financial fair play?
After the Messi deal, PSG have to expect a lot
From Michael Bauer
The Sheikh of Paris Saint-Germain promises the club will meet the requirements of financial fair play – despite the costly signing of Lionel Messi. In truth, there are unknown variables in the calculation that could have consequences.
Corona is to blame. The stupid virus is also believed to have an impact on Lionel Messi’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. Because the Financial Fair Play (FFP) of the Spanish league, which prevented the magic flea from staying at FC Barcelona, will only take effect in the French Ligue 1 in two years – and the pandemic is said to be the reason. Ultimately, this has put many clubs in the league in financial difficulties. The sheik club from the French capital primarily only uses a gap in the system to finance the player who would otherwise not be financed. Corona alone does not make this deal possible, but also a good portion of hope for possible income in the coming weeks.
For Sheikh Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the FFP bill of the league leader will work out despite record salaries. “We always strive to adhere to financial fair play. Before the Messi transfer, we checked our numbers and weighed whether it was possible to make this deal. And it was possible. We don’t do anything without checking it,” he said at the presentation of the Argentine. The word “weighed” in particular is accompanied by uncertainty, and here it becomes clear that not all of the adjustments have been made to meet UEFA’s financial fair play standards.
PSG finances have to be right this year
Messi is said to earn 35 million euros at his new club, net of course. The new rule, which will not apply in France until 2023/24, says that player salaries may only make up 70 percent of sales. That would be a huge problem for the capital city club at the moment. In the 2019/2020 season, PSG already had a little more than half a billion euros in salaries and other expenses, and income from TV money, sponsorship and ticket sales amounted to a similar amount. Fixed costs and fees then tore into the annual balance sheet anyway a 124 million euro deep hole in the PSG treasury.
This picture is likely to have changed little in the last season, with Mauro Icardi even a high earner was added as a new addition from Inter Milan (transfer fee a mere 50 million euros). With Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva, two top earners left the club, albeit free of charge. For the new season, the wage bill will explode. In addition to Messi, Sergio Ramos, European champion Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and ex-Dortmund Achraf Hakimi were also directed to Paris. Except for Hakimi, who cost 60 million euros, all free of charge. The FFP of the French league can still circumnavigate PSG, but not that of UEFA.
UEFA looks back on the previous three years when it comes to FFP, income and expenditure have to roughly balance each other out here. If this is not the case, sanctions will be applied. With a view to the last two years of losses, the PSG balance sheet has to be correct this year, otherwise in the worst case there is a risk of exclusion from the Champions League, whose profit is the club’s great goal.
Calculating Messi’s millions from the current annual balance sheet is an easy task. When it comes to marketing, club owner Al-Khelaifi is offensive. The staging of his new commitment is Hollywood-ready – and that has a purpose. The Argentine’s global charisma is greater than any club membership. The jersey with the number 30 will sell accordingly often, at a price of more than 150 euros. After Neymar’s arrival in 2017 PSG sold around 120,000 units in the first month, hard to imagine that Messi’s shirt will not be in similar demand.
In addition to the jersey sales, “La Pulga” is of course also a big gain in image, which pushes the reach of the club again. The best player of his generation will also attract new sponsors – that is also additional income for PSG. Without a horrific transfer fee, the Argentine is a transfer where financially nothing can go wrong.
However, the other salaries of the new stars are not yet out of the FFP bill. A report by the “L’Equipe“According to Paris still have to save at least 150 million euros here. The current runner-up’s squad is bursting at the seams. After Donnarumma’s arrival, there were eight goalkeepers in the professional squad. Mainly off the payroll. Mitchel Bakker, left-back and top Dutch talent, was given to Bayer Leverkusen for a mere seven million euros – well below market value. Further departures are sure to follow. PSG’s cross-off list is said to be long, including Germany’s Julian Draxler and Thilo Kehrer are in the shop window.
Selling and lending would be one option to improve the balance of the star ensemble. The other solution would be the one, the very large transfer of Kylian Mbappé, which would probably bring in the required 150 million euros in one go. Real Madrid is considered a possible buyer.
Mbappé not gripped by Messi fever
According to Al-Khelaifi, the Mbappé exit does not seem to be an option. “We have already said that he should stay. He wants a competitive team – and we have the best team in the world. There are no excuses for Mbappé not to stay here,” said the PSG boss. An offensive team with Messi, Neymar, Mbappé – the football world would have a new super trio. But the 2018 world champion is apparently immune to Messi fever and has little desire to share the attention and space with the Argentine. The 22-year-old is said to have already asked PSG officials for his release.
“Kylian Mbappé wants to leave. He’s asked for his release and doesn’t want to renew. It’s either Real Madrid this summer or a free pass in a year. He announced a few weeks ago that he didn’t want to play with Messi,” tweeted the French sports journalist Thibaud Vezirian. Mbappé’s contract expires at the end of the season, and an offer to extend it has been available for months. Despite an annual salary of 37 million euros and the financial rise to Neymar – before Messi’s arrival of the top earners – the native Parisian hesitates.
Mbappé apparently has little desire to play second or third violin in the PSG team. The idea that Neymar would have to decide who gets the ball in a game during the play: Messi and Mbappé. The Frenchman’s cards were much worse. After all, the Brazilian and the Argentine are friends and former teammates. But who can blame him: When in doubt, play the ball to Messi – FC Barcelona have also successfully practiced that for years. Another monster transfer with Mbappé participation is therefore not ruled out for several reasons.
Paris Saint-Germain is heading for busy weeks full of uncertainty. Is the club miscalculating its super team in a math game or does a Mbappé transfer clear up all worries about financial fair play? After all, the UEFA regulations seem to be an issue at PSG. One can only hope that the Messi hype doesn’t drown it out.