Explained: Gavi's contract dispute with Barcelona, why he lost his shirt number & what happens next
- Player unable to be registered
- Barcelona over budget for 2022-23
- Will need to clear cash ahead of next year
WHAT HAPPENED? Gavi signed a massive contract last September to stay at Camp Nou. The deal was set to run for four years and set the teenager's release clause at €1 billion (£866m/$1bn.) He was also to be handed Xavi's famous No.6 shirt. However, Gavi is yet to officially sign, and is still on youth wages.
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WHY CAN'T GAVI SIGN HIS NEW CONTRACT? Although the club and player have agreed on a new deal, the Blaugrana aren't allowed to register their star midfielder, as they are over their allocated budget for the 2022-23 season.
La Liga officially ruled on Thursday that Barcelona have insufficient financial resources to officially sign Gavi as a first-team player, meaning the Blaugrana will have to try again this summer.
CAN GAVI LEAVE? Technically, if he doesn't pen a first-team deal, Gavi will be able to leave on a free transfer. His academy contract expires in June, and if Barcelona are unable to register him, Gavi could walk for nothing. The club insist that it will not happen, though.
WHY DID GAVI CHANGE HIS NUMBER FOR A FEW WEEKS? This is where it all gets complicated. Barcelona argued earlier this year that they could register Gavi under a precautionary measure, which La Liga had no choice but to accept in the short term.
However, the league appealed the decision, and after some back and forth, the player was forced to return to his old number.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Spaniard could still sign a new deal, but Barcelona need to clear up their books first. That might be an issue; they are already working with a bloated wage budget and limited financial flexibility. It is unknown exactly how much money they need to clear.
WHAT'S NEXT? Barcelona have a number of other contract situations to figure out. Ronald Araujo, Sergi Roberto and Marcos Alonso all need to be registered. Meanwhile, the club are being linked with a potentially massive move to bring Lionel Messi to Camp Nou.