Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says the Premier League’s financial strenght represents a challenge to his club but denied it could lead to the exits of Lionel Messi, Neymar or Luis Suarez.
Bartomeu admitted to the Financial Times that Barca are struggling to hold onto their young talent given the economic power enjoyed by clubs in the English top flight.
“Our rival is the Premier League. It is not a specific club, it is the strength of the Premier League itself,” Bartomeu told the newspaper.
“The 16 year olds constantly receive offers from the Premier League that are very tempting. Every year there are some who go.”
That has been a longstanding complaint at Barca, with Bartomeu’s predecessor, Sandro Rosell, having previously made clear his frustration with Manchester City and Arsenal poaching youngsters from Barca’s La Masia academy.
The Premier League’s new TV deal — worth £5 billion over three years — increases such concerns for Europe’s elite clubs, with Bayern Munich officials regularly warning of the coming threat from English sides.
However, the Financial Times said Bartomeu insisted that his club will always have the resources to fend off English bids for key players, despite a recent report in The Sun that the Barca wage bill could lead to the sale of Messi, Neymar or Suarez.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate