Barcelona

Five news stories that show Barcelona's meltdown is getting worse

Messi might be staying, but virtually every other piece of news emanating from the club isn't good at the moment

 
3:20pm on Saturday 19th September 2020
By
Paul Macdonald

Barcelona's off-pitch issues descended further into farce on Thursday after club members gave president Josep Maria Bartomeu a vote of no-confidence, before former coach Quique Setien announced his intention to sue for breach of contract.

The on-running Lionel Messi transfer saga which took place over the summer underlined the dysfunction of off-field activities at Barcelona, and while the Argentine chose to stay - through gritted teeth - that hasn't hidden the fundamental problems which continue to exist at Camp Nou.

And in the past week, things have gotten much, much worse.

1. Bartomeu's vote of no-confidence

Messi, in his interview with Goal.com to announce his decision to stay, made sure he didn't miss in his opinion of the sitting president.

And it's not just Messi who has very little time for Bartomeu. He is probably the most reviled supremo in Barcelona's recent history which, considering Sandro Rosell went to jail, is quite a feat.

Lionel Messi came close to leaving Barcelona for the first time in his career

Bartomeu has oversaw the managed decline of the club and ultimately signed off deals that have cost the club in excess of £1Bn with precious little to show for it. And that's just scraping the surface, so on Thursday the club members, known as socios, issued a vote of no confidence.

16,520 votes were needed for the vote to be valid; in the end over 20,000 issued their dissatisfaction with the way the club is being run.

It really is remarkable to see the communication and collaboration of various fan groups in order to reach the volume required for their concerns to be met. These votes were delivered to the team offices and now begins a 10-day period to authenticate each and every vote gathered.

Barcelona must now decide whether these votes are genuine and if the process is ratified, there could be an emergency board put in place, while elections have to be held within three months, with Bartomeu effectively gone.

2. Bartomeu's corruption allegations

And this is happening against the backdrop of allegations of corruption against Bartomeu, a story which emerged just before Messi's 'decision day'.

This regarding an alleged overpayment of up to 600% above the market rate to media company I3 Ventures in a deal in which regular checks and balanced were ignored in order to complete the agreement.

Catalan police are taking the case extremely seriously and the investigation continues while the vote of no-confidence into Bartomeu runs concurrently.

3. Quique Setien sues Barcelona

And to rub salt into the wounds, estranged coach Quique Setien, unceremoniously relieved of his duties following the 8-2 capitulation to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, has issued his intention to sue the club.

Why? Well, his claim is as damning against Bartomeu than any allegations of corruption or mismanagement. Setien states that he and his management team were not officially informed of their dismissal until... Wednesday of this week.

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His statement read: "In my case, Quique Setien, it is public and well known that on August 17, both the Club and the President announced my dismissal with immediate effect.

"However, it was not until yesterday, September 16 (one month later), when they sent me, for the first time, the written communication of said dismissal (without any settlement)."

Bearing in mind that Ronald Koeman has been operating as Barca's head coach for almost a month, it is a staggering, damning claim that the leader of the team was jettisoned in such an unprofessional fashion. What happens next, given the underlying mess, is anyone's guess.

4. Suarez allowed to leave for a title rival

Luis Suarez may be getting on in years, but he remains one of the best number nines in the world, regardless if he is still good enough for Koeman's new project.

It is understandable that they would allow him to go to Juventus, a team in another country, albeit a European rival.

However, the decision to allow the Uruguayan to leave for the third-best team in Spain, Atletico, could come back to haunt them.

In 2013, David Villa was allowed to leave for Atletico and Los Colchoneros ended up winning La Liga.

5. There's no money for Memphis

Many reports had Memphis Depay's move to Barcelona from Lyon as a foregone conclusion, with Koeman keen to team up with the man he managed at international level and who is available for just £20m.

But it's been made clear since that the well is dry. Barcelona have no disposable income and need to offload before any new players can be brought in. Suarez staying eats into another big chunk of money that could be redirected elsewhere.

Ivan Rakitic has already been allowed to return to Sevilla for a negligible fee and it was hopeful that there would be other exits. But as of yet this hasn't happened and unless someone is ready to gamble on the likes of Nelson Semedo, Junior Firpo, and others, then Koeman is not going to be able to add the players he wants.

Indeed, discussions of Lautaro Martinez and other big-name arrivals are simply fanciful. These types of players are not going to be signed and they will do extremely to get Depay over the line, even at this modest cost.

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