Senior Players And Barcelona Youngsters Are Targeted By Premier League
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists that none of his star players – Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez – will move to clubs in the Premier League. Two of the three players have been linked with moves to England – Messi to Arsenal or Manchester City, Neymar to Manchester United – but while Bartomeu recognises the power of the English top flight he says he won’t part with any of his star players.
“Our rival is the Premier League. It is not a specific club, it is the strength of the Premier League itself,” Bartomeu told the Financial Times and he insists that Barcelona have the resources to hold on to their star names and the youngsters from their La Masia academy.
“The 16 year olds constantly receive offers from the Premier League that are very tempting. Every year there are some who go.”
But Messi and Neymar are concerned about tax issues with Messi set to stand trial for allegedly dodging €4million of taxes and Neymar worried that his structure may suffer the same fate.
There have also been reports that the club are cash-strapped and are looking at bargain-buy deals in the January transfer window despite a year-long transfer embargo. Revenues are currently around €600million (£430million) a year. But Bartomeu, who was elected president in July, knows what his goal is.
“There are no other clubs in the world, whether in football or in other sports, that think ahead more than one or two seasons. But here at Barça we do.
“We want to be the first club to reach €1billion in revenues.” He thinks this will be done largely by expanding the club’s presence abroad.
“Barça is a global club,” he went on. “But the world is a big place and right now we are occupying very little space.”