PETE JENSON: Samuel Umtiti’s shock new Barcelona contract has been slammed as ‘tragic’ after years of injury and poor play on huge pay… but here’s why this bizarre deal actually DOES make sense for everyone
- Samuel Umtiti has agreed a new contract at Barcelona until 2026, on a pay cut
- The deal has been met with confusion and criticism, given Umtiti’s decline
- Barcelona are crippled by debts, with Umtiti one of the players on huge wages
- Yet strangely his contract deal does in fact benefit him, the club and its fans
Samuel Umtiti’s contract renewal until 2026 left some Barcelona supporters fuming and many more outside the club scratching their heads. Sportsmail looks at why it appears both parties decided, in difficult circumstances, it was all that could be done.
Samuel Umtiti has agreed a new Barcelona contract despite long being out of favour
It was back in 2019 that previous president Josep Bartomeu renewed Samuel Umtiti up until 2023. It was a deal that did not have the overwhelming support of everyone at the club because of the player’s knee injury problems but Bartomeu wasn’t too concerned.
If there was a problem it would be one for the next board to solve and no one could foresee a pandemic that would destroy the football tourism and matchday receipts that Barcelona relied upon.
For the last couple of years the club have tried to sell him as injury problems have continued to prevent him from rediscovering the form he first showed when he signed.
But because he was, thanks to Bartomeu, on a long deal with high wages, and playing so few games, it had become impossible to find a buyer. There were no offers.
THE NEW DEAL AS A SOLUTION
Umtiti has agreed to take a pay cut
Umtiti has accepted a 10 per cent cut in wages across the year and a half that he had left on his contract. That amount will now be spread out across four and a half seasons instead as part of his new deal.
That means if Umtiti’s gross salary was around the €20million (£16.5m) mark, as has been reported, the club would have had to pay out €30m (£25m) – €15m (£12.5m) to the player and €15m to the tax authorities – until the end of the 2022-23 season. The agreed 10 per cent cut brings the sum owed to around €27m but it is now payable over four and a half seasons, instead of one and a half.
In the short term Barcelona don’t have to pay out €30m before June 2023 – they have to pay closer to €9m, a huge drop in short-term strain on the wage bill. They have also agreed, despite extending his deal, that he can still walk away for free in 2023 as he would have been able to were he still on his previous contract.
THE CLUB WINS
The immediate salary burden is considerably lightened. If Umtiti stays he will still be paid the same total amount as under his previous deal minus the 10 per cent agreed. But it can be paid over a much longer period of time.
For now Barcelona’s wage bill is reduced allowing them to register Ferran Torres.
Supporters have complained that the club are renewing a player who rarely plays and who could leave on a free in 2023 but that remains preferable to having had to pay his contract in full before then.
The cut has allowed Barca the financial leeway to register £55million signing Ferran Torres
The three extra years that he has signed for are loaded with bonuses so that any upturn in fortunes on the pitch for the Frenchman will be heavily rewarded. And if it does not go well he can leave on a free in 2023 as he would have been able to do were he not renewing.
His public image with Barcelona fans also improves. Supporters had been made aware that difficulties with big earners were what was holding back the registration of new player Torres.
He has experienced some whistling from spectators when warming up for games. Now he becomes another player who made a sacrifice so the club could keep moving forward. He has done it for the ‘love of Barca’, the club have said.
Had he turned it down he would have been the bad guy at the club for the next 18 months – and the only player bar Ousmane Dembele – who only has six months left – to not cut a deal wtih the club in its hour of need.
Some furious Barcelona supporters stopped Umtiti’s car from leaving training last month
The Frenchman (right) was furious and he accused the guilty fans of showing no respect to him
One Barcelona reporter called the resolution ‘tragic’ and said the renewal had left him speechless.
But he was also proposing writing-off Umtiti’s contract, something that sounds good when said quickly but actually entails coughing up a year and a half of salary.
Players don’t tear up their contracts for free. Barcelona’s director of football Mateu Alemany has come up with a short-term fix that will enable the club to achieve immediate short-term priority – registering Torres.
Umtiti’s signing now leaves Ousmane Dembele as the only contract rebel on huge wages