Sergio Busquets is the latest Barça player making headlines for offield reasons. The perennial Spanish international has made it known that he's unsatisfied with the way his contract negotiations are going, and PSG has been heavily linked by the rumor mill to the midfielder.
Busquets signed his current four-year contract in 2015. Barcelona has evaded meeting with the No.5 with the excuse that Neymar's contract had to be handled first. Now that Neymar's new deal has been discussed for over two months, Busquets is getting understandably impatient.
On top of this delay, Busquets has taken more umbrage to the clubs most recent move. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has sent correspondence to the entire team, including Busquets, intimating that the signing of new players will take precedence over any negotiations with current players this summer. Now the club faces the difficult situation of having a prime player displeased during the summer transfer window. The fact that PSG, a club more than capable of activating Busquets’ €150 million release clause, are interested only makes the issue even more urgent.
Barcelona seems to be focused on investing in future players while Busquets seems to be focused on investing in his personal future. Neither of these ambitions are inherently wrong. Barcelona has made it brutally clear that Busquets’ contract extension is certainly not the top task on the club's summer agenda. Busquets has repeatedly made his intentions to negotiate a contract extension clear.
As much as Barcelona fans would hate to see Busquets leave, the club is making a wise decision in procrastinating the negotiations with a player who signed a new contract only last year.
These claims should be prefaced by an undebatable fact. Sergio Busquets is an integral member of the Barça squad and he has been for many years. In 44 starting appearances within all competitions this sesson, Busquets has played for 3,834 minutes. just 126 minutes shy of 44 full games. The club has won 76% of the matches he appeared in, and he's helped regain possession by recovering 369 balls.
With that fact in mind, it is also true that Sergio Busquets is 27 years old. He will only get older and his performance will only decline over time. It's the duty of Bartomeu and the rest of the Barcelona board to make decisions that will have long term benefits for the club. In the long term, it makes more sense to spend limited funds on securing younger, cheaper talent that can serve the club for many years in than to keep throwing money at a player that will inevitably retire or suffer a physical decline in upcoming years.
This is a situation that reminds us of the cold, hard fact that football is first and foremost a business. Busquets’ contract negotiation is simply not the best investment for the Catalans to make at the moment. In an ideal situation, it would be wonderful to keep a player of his caliber around for as long as possible, but Barcelona is full of these priceless type of players and, even the world’s best club only has so much money to go around. The club cannot break the bank right now on Busquets.
Barcelona is not the big bad wolf in this situation. They are not sending Busquets away. Busquets already earns the considerable salary of €120,000 a week, and now he wants more money. His request has not received outright denial. He's simply been asked to wait. He has earned the right to be impatient here, but the club has good reason for not giving in to his repeated requests. If Busquets does not want to keep waiting for a meeting that might not happen, it makes sense for him to go to a team that will pay him what he wants.
Will Busquets walk away from the Blaugrana? Only time will tell. If he does leave, Barcelona will not suffer, but his departure would certainly be a sentimental loss. With great mutual respect, it might be time for Busquets and Barcelona to part ways.