In only one summer transfer window nearly everything has changed at Barcelona.
Then on deadline day they let £107m signing Antoine Griezmann rejoin rivals Atletico on loan – the 11th player to leave the club this summer.
Coming the other way was former Newcastle striker Luuk de Jong, joining on a season-long loan from Sevilla.
Barcelona’s forwards now consist of new signings: Dutch forward Memphis Depay, former Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, on-loan Austrian teenager Yusuf Demir, De Jong, plus Denmark striker Martin Braithwaite and the injured 18-year-old Ansu Fati, who has been given Messi’s iconic number 10 shirt.
Barca will pay 31-year-old De Jong’s salary this season and have an option to make the Netherland international’s stay permanent next summer.
Atletico take on Griezmann’s salary this term, but there is a compulsory clause to make the transfer permanent.
Barca’s summer departures
Lionel Messi – PSG on free transfer
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid on loan
Emerson Royal – Tottenham for £22.5m
Ilaix Moriba – RB Leipzig for £13.7m
Junior Firpo – Leeds United for 13.5m
Jean-Clair Todibo – Nice for £7.6m
Carles Alena – Getafe for £4.5m
Francisco Trincao – Wolves on loan
Rey Manaj – Spezia on loan
Juan Miranda – Betis on free transfer
Matheus Fernandes – Palmeiras on free transfer
Monchu – Granada on free transfer
What has happened at Barcelona this summer?
Barcelona’s wage bill in mid-August accounted for 103% of their total income.
Barca’s all-time top goalscorer went on to join PSG on a free transfer in early August.
Laporta said keeping Messi could have put the club at risk for 50 years.
The France striker returns to Atletico where he scored 133 goals in 257 games and won the Europa League, Uefa Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup.
The only money Barca spent to bring in a player on a permanent deal during the summer transfer window was to exercise their option to call Emerson back from Betis for a reported 9m euros, only to offload him for a substantial profit.
De Jong, who scored 19 goals in 93 games for Sevilla after moving to La Liga from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2019, is the fourth forward to join Barca this summer after compatriot Depay, Aguero and Demir.
Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba agreeing to salary reductions on Tuesday ensured Aguero could be registered and helped “to extend the club’s limit with regards to financial fair play regulations.”
Gerard Pique did the same earlier in the summer to allow Depay and former City defender Eric Garcia to be registered,
The most baffling thing for me is that yet again, like they did with Luis Suarez last summer, Barcelona are just strengthening the squad of their opponents for the title.
Griezmann was not happy at Barca, but you are giving one of your direct opponents for the title – and one of the other big clubs in Spain – one of your best players arguably, a fantastic player, and you don’t get anything in exchange.
I don’t know who makes those decisions, but I find them crazy decisions. Incredible.