First came the request to investigate Manchester City and PSG from La Liga. That was quickly dismissed by UEFA, who are in regular contact with City and have analysed their books for years after previous Financial Fair Play issues. In fact, City could have bought Alexis Sanchez and still been within the parameters.
One day after that, Barcelona’s under-fire president Josep Maria Bartomeu has launched a scathing attack against the two most prominent Arab-owned clubs, City and PSG.
Speaking to Catalan daily SPORT, Bartomeu said, “Qatar and Abu Dhabi, two countries that have two clubs. If Bayern [Munich], [Manchester] United, [Real] Madrid or Arsenal buy a player, you know [the money] comes from football. But these two clubs distort the market.”
While we can’t speak for PSG, the majority of City’s revenue does not come from Abu Dhabi and the much talked about Etihad deal is now years old and severely undervalued in the current market. It is another borderline racist comment (no mention of Milan’s free-spending under the Chinese?) emanating from Spain, where La Liga and Barcelona are upset at having seen one of their most marketable stars, Neymar, prised away by the emerging PSG.
As for distorting the market, Barcelona spent an initial €105million to land Ousmane Dembélé, while City’s record transfer fee is €75million for Kevin De Bruyne, who was much further along in his development when City bought him in 2015. So perhaps Barcelona should look closer to home, or even next door to City, where neighbours United broke the world transfer record last summer for Paul Pogba, when discussing market distortion.