After a tumultuous year which involved shocking losing Lionel Messi as a free agent, Barcelona are ready to embark on their next chapter as they turn their attention toward ensuring a talented teenage prospect such as Pedri can be the centerpiece they need to revitalize the club and stay in contention long into the future.
Pedri, 18, signed a new contract until June 30, 2026, with a record-breaking release clause of €1 billion ($1.16 billion). It's an astonishing, but true, figure. Behind this deal there are many things to explain, not only Barça's strategy in locking up Pedri, but also the planning, and how the to sides communicated to get this deal done.
Barça's priority? Announce a new era
Barcelona want Pedri to be the face of the club for many years. It's worth pointing out that by renewing his contract with a gigantic clause that will obviously make him unapproachable is their way of making it clear to other competitors that they can no longer pluck the jewels of the club. His contract has been extended and his salary increased which reflects that Pedri is one of the new stars of Barça and the Spanish national team. He's also the leading candidate to win the Golden Boy Award, which elects the best young talent in Europe. Pedri accepted the Barça proposal because he was enthusiastic about the project, liked having the confidence of club president Joan Laporta and the idea of being one of the faces of the historic club's reconstruction period.
The €1 billion clause is the other decisive aspect of this affair. Barça know all too well that no club in the world would trigger this clause, so it's purpose is to start a new era with all "untouchable" contracts for their stars. In the summer of 2020, Bayern Munich had contacted Barcelona only 24 hours after the German club's sensational 8-2 victory at the Camp Nou in the Champions League to ask for information on Pedri, with a proposal ready for €40 million. Barça said no, but it was a warning shot. Rather than continue to have to fend off advances for the next generation of stars, the club simply made the talented Spaniard unapproachable.
What's next for Barça?
This is just the first step in an important process for Barcelona as they begin to sift through their "renewals list." Sergi Roberto had an imminent agreement, and while the deal wasn't agreed upon, talks are expected to restart soon with the player and his agent. Ousmane Dembélé has not yet given answers to the club, the negotiation goes on, but his contract expiring in June 2022 and his status is a real danger for Barça, as long as it remains unresolved.
On the other hand, there is optimism for Ansu Fati's contract extension after contacts with his agent Jorge Mendes. After locking up Pedri to a long-term deal, Barcelona are now confident to have Ansu's signatures soon. Finally, there is the latest jewel to emerge from Masia, Gavi. Born in 2004, the 17-year-old prized prospect is evidently already viewed as one of the best up-and-coming talents in the world, especially after his breakout performance for the Spanish national team in the UEFA Nations League in this past international window. Although his contract expires June of 2023, the Blaugrana higher-ups are already preparing a new proposal to be discussed in the near future that would lock him up for five years and include another Pedri-like, sky-high buyout clause.
A new era is underway for Barcelona as they have their eyes set on the stars of the future.
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