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The Daily Bee (February 12th, 2021): Bartomeu’s Disastrous Negotiations with Borussia Dortmund

A NYT article characterized a problem that has plagued Barcelona for years.

FC Barcelona v CSKA Moscow - Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Good morning everyone.

I’m so sick of talking about how Borussia Dortmund’s season is falling apart. It’s depressing. Instead, let’s talk about the one big club in Europe that’s an even bigger dumpster fire than BVB.

I’ve given my spiel on Barcelona and its backwards management before, so for a full breakdown of the great Catalonian club’s downfall, I defer to the article. However, there’s one section of the article I’d like to highlight, that gives a brief insight into Barcelona’s negotiations with BVB over the transfer of Ousmane Dembélé, led by club negotiations of Josep Bartomeu:

Barcelona had decided on its strategy, and its price: Dembélé, in Barcelona’s eyes, was worth $96 million, and not a cent more. No matter how hard Dortmund pressed for a higher fee, the men from Barcelona would hold firm...

Despite coming into the meeting with this strong position, when they encountered BVB’s representatives, they almost immediately caved:

The Germans told their guests that they had a plane to catch. They had no time to exchange small talk, and they were not here to negotiate. If Barcelona wanted Dembélé, it would have to pay roughly double the Spaniards’ valuation: $193 million.

Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, was stunned. But he did not walk away. He quickly agreed to pay almost the entire amount, settling at a fee of $127 million up front, with a further $50 million in easily-achieved performance bonuses.

Now I attended business school, but I have sat in on my dad negotiating with a car salesman, so even I know the ol’ “We’ve got a plane to catch, no time to negotiate” business tactic, and it legitimately shocks me that Bartomeu fell for it hook, line, and sinker. That’s the type of line that shouldn’t work on a local KFC franchise owner, let alone the president of one of the top clubs in World Football.

Barcelona’s decline doesn’t have a single cause, rather a series of bad decisions, and the decision to spend more than €150 on a relatively unproven player Dembélé is just one example.

With Borussia Dortmund also in a bit of financial trouble, more due to the pandemic than bad transfer strategies, the club may need to sell some of its stars like Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland. If this ends up being the case, hopefully Michael Zorc and his team can milk every penny they can.

Bayern Munich Win the Club World Cup

Congratulations to Bayern Munich, who defeated Tigres UANL of Liga MX to win the Club World Cup. This effectively completed the ‘sextuple’ — Bayern won all six trophies from the 2019-2020 season they could have win.

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