On Sept. 22, 2016, Sergio Busquets signed a new Barcelona deal in the presence of president Josep Maria Bartomeu. It was a five-year deal until 2021 with the option of two more years. The new terms placed him among the best paid players at the club, Messi and Iniesta apart. The midfielder earns 14 million euros, with another 2.6 million added to that after titles won this season. His release clause is 200 million.
One year and seven months later, with just a third of the contract complete, Busquets doesn't seem satisfied with what he earns and has asked for more. It's a susprising take which has produced disappointment at the club. Especially when it wasn't his agent, Josep Maria Orobitg, who made the request to Bartomeu but the player himself. Busquets told the president of his desire to have an improved deal and even told him he could give him a list of clubs ready to sign him if he wasn't able to land a renewal. Busquets himself told his people of the conversation, alleging that it's a strategy successfully used by other team-mates.
We imagine Bartomeu froze when he heard the proposition. There's not much more room for more improved contracts. Barça have a salary problem and need to keep within the budget marked by UEFA.
Barça have no choice but to defend rigor and professionalism. Giving in would set a precedent. Busquets' case is not comparable with Xavi and Iniesta, who left for free at 34. He still not 30, is a valuable player and key to Ernesto Valverde's plans. It's another thing if he really does want to leave. The price is known: 200 million. If the clause isn't paid, he doesn't leave. The fans would understand. On the other han, are there clubs prepared to pay that much for a holding midfielder who is nearly 30?
We don't know who is advising Busquets, but it's clear that he's made a mistake with this strategy at an inopportune moment. Barça's president is not Mother Theresa. He does not have to do favours and he definitely can't cup up with miracles.