Barcelona have signed midfielder Miralem Pjanic from Juventus in a deal worth 65 million euros ($A107 million) just hours after confirming Arthur Melo had moved in the opposite direction.
The Spanish champions had earlier announced that Brazil international Arthur had joined Juventus in a deal worth an initial 72 million euros ($117m).
The impact on the accounting front could explain why there were two seperate transfers rather than Juve simply paying Barcelona seven million euros on top of Pjanic for Arthur.
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While there is only a net difference of seven million euros ($11.4m) in favour of Barcelona between the deals, both clubs will report around €52m ($85m) profit thanks to the way player contracts and transfers are handled by football clubs on the accounting front.
As explained by @SwissRamble on Twitter, when a player is purchased by a club the cost is spread out across the length of his contact but when a player is sold the profits are immediately logged in the books as clubs treat players as assets.
That’s the simple way of looking at it. The nitty-gritty is a bit more complicated.
Two years ago Barcelona purchased Arthur for €30m on a six-year contract, meaning they paid off that amount in €5m blocks. His value in books reduced by €5m each year taking his book value to €20m right now. Hence, his sale to Juventus €72m is looked at by the accountants as a €52m profit.
On the other side of the ledger, Juventus signed Pjanic for €35m on a five-year deal in 2016. After two years his book value went down to €21m, at which point Juventus gave him a two-year contract extension. That took the annual amortisation – process of gradually writing off the initial cost of an asset – down to €4.2m.
At the time of sale, his book value sat at €13m, meaning his €65m sale is looked at as a €52m profit.
Given the current financial pinch football clubs are feeling because of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the need to stay in line with UEFA’s financial fair play regulation, the swap is a win-win for both clubs.
Bosnia and Herzegovina international Pjanic’s signing was also confirmed on the same day that Juve club stalwarts Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini signed new one-year deals to remain at the Italian champions.
Barcelona said in a statement on their official website: “FC Barcelona and Juventus have reached an agreement for the transfer of player Miralem Pjanic. The cost of the operation will be 60 million euros plus 5m in variables.
“The player will sign a contract with the club for the next four seasons, until the end of the 2023/24 season, with a buy out clause of 400 million euros.”
An earlier Barca statement regarding Arthur’s switch to Italy read: “FC Barcelona and Juventus FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of player Arthur Melo. The Italian club will pay 72 million euros, plus 10 million euros in variables.”
Barca confirmed both Pjanic and Arthur will join their respective new clubs at the end of the 2019/20 season.
Buffon and Chiellini, meanwhile, will remain with the Serie A leaders, who are chasing a ninth consecutive Scudetto this season, until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
Buffon, 42, joined Juventus from Parma in 2001 and has made over 500 appearances for the Bianconeri, returning to Turin at the start of this season following a one-year spell at Paris St Germain.
The World Cup-winning goalkeeper has played a back-up role to former Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny, but will continue with the club until at least the end of next season.
Captain Chiellini, 35, who has been at Juventus for 16 years, has also signed a new 12-month extension.