Albert Soler: 'The priority was not to put at risk the club's equity and economic viability'

Albert Soler: 'The priority was not to put at risk the club's equity and economic viability'

Barça director says there was a massive shift in the market, and the exorbitant prices being demanded made recruitment extremely challenging

FC Barcelona Director of Professional Sports Albert Soler and Technical Secretary for Football Robert Fernández held a press conference at midday on Saturday to talk about the club’s efforts in recruitment over the summer. Soler said that the changes in the market seen this year means the world is moving towards a “completely different model of football”, noting that the market has changed starkly.

“The main priority was not to jeopardise the club’s equity and economic viability,” he added, before noting that “a club with 155,000 members must be managed reliably and responsibly.”

The Director has held firm in an environment of rapid market inflation that has spiralled out of control this summer, which has seen a paradigm shift in conditions for clubs looking to buy. “What happened this summer has led to a completely different football model.”

“We were used to a model where the big, traditional clubs like Barça called the shots; but things have changed. Now we’re seeing countries, investment funds, representatives and the like - but above all countries - dictating the terms of the market.”

Soler: “The governing bodies of football need to think about this, not the clubs”

Soler also spoke about what he described as ‘madness’ in the transfer market this summer. “We could be here today presenting two players that have cost us 270 million euros” he explained. “That would have been irresponsible. If that had happened, then there really would have been cause to call for our resignation.”

He also revealed that shortly before closure of the transfer window, and after weeks of negotiations, “Liverpool put a 200 million price tag on a member of their squad. Logically, the club decided that it was not going to go ahead with the operation.”

Fernández happy with the squad

For his part, Robert Fernández insisted that no matter what has happened this summer, he is still delighted with the players that he has. “We have a magnificent squad” he said. “I have no doubt about that. And the new signings will make us more competitive and as strong as we have been in recent seasons.”

Asked about the Leo Messi contract situation, Albert Soler added that there is no cause for alarm and that “all that’s pending is the protocol of formally signing the documents.”

On the departure of Neymar Jr, Soler confirmed that “the board didn’t not find out that he was leaving until the day that he made the announcement … and the decision was made solely and exclusively by the player himself.”

He admitted that the Brazilian’s exit meant they had to review their approach to the transfer market, for not only did they need to reassess their needs to cover for the loss of a key player, but the fact that other clubs were aware that FC Barcelona had a large sum of money at its disposal meant that “they were making exorbitant demands.”


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