Barcelona are still looking for ways to keep Miralem Pjanic going to further cut their wage bills after a hectic summer at Camp Nou, sources told ESPN.
The transfer window was closed in Spain on Tuesday, but it remains open in Russia and Turkey, with Zenit St. Petersburg being one of the clubs associated with Pjanic.
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However, sources close to the Bosnian midfielder have told ESPN that he is unlikely to agree to a fallback option as he preferred to return to Italy, where he previously played for Juventus and Roma.
The 31-year-old Pjanic accepts that he will have to wait until January to secure a move from Barca, where it has been made clear that he is unlikely to get any playing time under manager Ronald Koeman.
Miralem Pjanic joined Barcelona from Juventus Turin in 2020. Photo by Pedro Salado / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images
Sources told ESPN that Barca’s priority this summer was cutting their wage bills. President Joan Laporta previously announced that salaries with Lionel Messi account for 110% of the club’s revenue. Without him, that’s down to 95%.
The departure of Antoine Griezmann and the salary cuts agreed with Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets contributed to this.
After these pay cuts and the departures of Messi and Griezmann, Pjanic is now one of the Catalan club’s biggest earners. LaLiga’s fair play rules dictate that a club’s payroll should be around 70% of its earnings.
Barca are also still trying to move midfielder Alex Collado to another club despite his salary being much lower than Pjanic’s. The graduate of the academy saw a deadline day move to Sheffield United fail.
With the transfer window now closed, sources say Barca’s hierarchy will now focus on contract renewals.
The youngsters Ansu Fati and Pedri are both without a contract at the end of the season. When the duo signed their current contracts, Barca offered an option to extend their tenure for an additional two years but given they were under 18 the club cannot unilaterally carry out those extensions.
Therefore, the club will hold talks with both camps about the best way in the coming weeks.
Ansu, 18, has just returned to full exercise after a nine month hiatus with a meniscus injury in his knee. He has received the No. 10 jersey removed by Messi and Barca hope to have him back in competition by the end of September.
Pedri, also 18, has a break in Tenerife. After participating in Euro 2020 and the Olympic Games this summer, Koeman and Spain coach Luis Enrique agreed that he needed a break during the international break.
Barca also have to negotiate a new deal with Ousmane Dembele, who is out injured until November. His term of office also expires next summer.