Receipts at half mast, heavy deficits, colossal debts … For months, most football clubs in Europe have been in critical health. In large part due to a situation weighed down by the Covid-19 pandemic. In this context, the probable arrival of Lionel Messi at PSG is likely to raise some questions.
How can the capital club afford the Argentinian player, who until now played at FC Barcelona and was, until recently, the most expensive footballer in the world (his salary exceeded 70 million euros net per year)? How will the PSG, which has a substantial payroll, be able to remain within the financial framework imposed both nationally by the national management control department (DNCG), the financial “gendarme” of French football, and European plan, by UEFA?
Lightened financial constraints
In this case, the economic difficulties due to the health crisis have something to do with it. In any case for the Parisian leaders. First because, given the difficulties of Barça, the salary of the “Pulga” (the “chip”) had been reduced: at the beginning of the summer, during negotiations on a possible extension of his contract, the media Hispanics reported that Messi had agreed to cut it in half.
PSG treasurers can also count on the fact that the Argentine was at the end of his contract. Which means they won’t have to pay Barca anything. This had not been the case to bring in Neymar (they had to pay 222 million euros to lift the Brazilian’s clause in Barcelona) or to attract Kylian Mbappé in the summer of 2017 (180 million euros paid to AS Monaco).
In addition, the financial constraints imposed on European clubs by UEFA have been lightened a little: for “Take into account the negative repercussions of Covid-19”, the governing body of European football had decided, in June 2020, to temporarily relax the rules of financial fair play which prohibits a club engaged in European competition from spending more than what it earns and tightly regulates injections capital by owners.
Whatever the salary ultimately negotiated by PSG with Messi, the sum will add to a payroll that has continued to increase since 2017. In its 2021 report, the audit and marketing consultancy firm KPMG estimated that the latter represented 75% of PSG’s expenses during the 2019-2020 season.
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