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Barcelona extend Samuel Umtiti’s contract to make room for Ferran Torres

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Ferran Torres during his official presentation at Camp Nou.© AFP

Barcelona on Monday extended Samuel Umtiti’s contract until 2026, a deal that creates enough room in the club’s budget to register Ferran Torres, his new signing from Manchester City. Torres has been unavailable to play for Barca since joining two weeks ago because registering the striker would mean breaching La Liga’s spending restrictions. Umtiti’s three-year extension means that their wages will be spread over a longer period, which in turn reduces the amount they will be paid to Barcelona in the current fiscal year.

Barcelona also said that “the French defender is reducing a part of the salary he was due to receive in the year and half remaining on his contract”.

The club said: “This contract extension does not entail any major financial commitment to FC Barcelona in relation to the player.”

The extension came as a surprise as Barcelona are looking to sell Umti to help reduce the club’s debt of more than a billion euros. His previous contract was worth around 18 million euros per year.

Barca’s spending limit this season is less than €98 million, but they are heavily budgeted, with La Liga rules allowing them to spend only 25 percent of any savings made as a result.

Umtiti was once a key player for the Catalans, but his career has been on the decline due to injuries and he has long been on the sidelines of the first team.

But the 28-year-old’s unexpected renewal means Torres is finally eligible to play for Barca.

“Through this contract extension, FC Barcelona will be able to increase its ‘Financial Fair Play’ quota and thereby register Ferran Torres with the Spanish Football League,” the club said.

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But Torres, who joined City for 55 million euros on 28 December, has tested positive for Covid and will need to return a negative test to make his Spanish Super Cup debut in Saudi Arabia this week.

Barcelona will play Real Madrid in the semi-finals on Wednesday and the winners will face either Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in the final on Sunday.

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