As The Fiver fixes up on its daily daytime TV diet, there’s that comforting thought you are never more than a couple of hours away from a brutal Midsomer murder. Amid such reverie you are also just minutes from ads selling well-Brexit souvenir coin sets, Lord Botham getting his feet massaged, cremations shilled in the style of luxury holidays, and plentiful refinancing opportunities so you can afford all of the above. So while it seems unlikely that Barcelona chief suit Joan Laporta is acquainted with a netherworld inhabited by the ghosts of John Thaw and Dennis Waterman, of Michaels Parkinson and Buerk, of Eamonn Holmes’ sore legs, it appears he knows something of remortgaging.
On Friday, it was announced Barcelona have secured a sum of more than €300m from Sixth Street, a San Francisco investment fund that had already spun Barça €200m earlier in the summer, their loot coming in return for 25% of the club’s league media rights over the next 25 years. Earlier this week, Julian Nagelsmann wailed they are “the only club that doesn’t have money but can buy any player”, Bayern having lost Robert Lewandowski to the lure of Catalonia and a pay cut. That wasn’t quite right. Spotify, your skint musician friend’s favourite app, has bunged €280m in sponsorship cash so Barcelona are pretty flush but maybe not for long, having hocked their future to sign a striker who is 33 until he is 34 next month. The club’s debt remains around the €1bn mark but the spending continues. It all reminds The Fiver of Leeds two decades ago, Dvd O’Lry’s “babies” augmented by chairman Peter Ridsdale going bonkers for goldfish, Rio Ferdinand, Seth Johnson and a similar refinancing deal that ended in tears, relegation and Ken Bates taking over the club.
Nu-Chelsea have already been on the wrong end of Barça’s performance-enhanced transfer pestilence. Having been gazumped on signing Raphinha from Leeds, owner Todd Boehly’s trademark sweatpants were starting to fill as Barcelona asked Sevilla’s Jules Koundé to wait and see if they could find the cash to keep him in La Liga. Even moneybags Manchester City have needed to ward off an unwelcome lunge for Bernardo Silva.
Cast back a year ago, as Lionel Messi tearfully did one to Paris, the talk was of a new Barcelona, the second coming of La Masia, names like Ansu Fati, Gavi and Pedri as the next generation guiding their club from the darkness. After all, the main reason the club was in such a financial hole was the near-billion wiped on busts like Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Miralem Pjanic. Lessons would be learned and all that. Though apparently not.
LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE!
Join Sarah Rendell from 8pm BST for minute-by-minute coverage of Sweden 2-1 Belgium at Euro 2022.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I am conscious that transfers rack up a lot of air miles and driving miles as well so I am looking to offset my emissions for this transfer. I am not perfect but I am trying to do my bit to make this transfer carbon neutral” – new Brentford defender Ben Mee on his move south.
In an industry that involves a lot of travel I know transfers add to a big carbon footprint so I’m going to offset all the emissions from around my transfer by supporting Carbon Neutral Britain. pic.twitter.com/OUTUyyIDPc
— Ben Mee (@Ben6Mee) July 22, 2022
“Re: England v Spain (yesterday’s Fiver). While ‘Stanway to Heaven’ was a respectable headline, ‘Marching Through the Door Marked 2-1’ was clearly a missed opportunity” – Dave Small.
“Like all right-minded people I only read Big Website, of course, but I did happen to chance upon this piece in Spanish daily Marca about Wolves’s pre-season not-so-friendly against Levante (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs). Of course, it’s great that there were four sendings off in the first half but, more importantly, the way that the Spanish spell Wolverhampton is, despite only being one letter out, strangely amazing” – Noble Francis.
“I thought I’d better get this one in before 1,056 others do, not to mention the dreaded media, but after Darwin Núñez’s four pre-season goals on Thursday, there will be several theories about the evolution of Darwin as a footballer” – Peter Hughes.
Send your letters to email@example.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Dave Small.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Uwe Seeler, who led West Germany to the 1966 World Cup as captain of the national team, has died at the age of 85.
Germany are through to the Euro 2022 semi-finals, but only after a tougher-than-expected 2-0 win over Austria. “In the end we just made a couple of mistakes too many,” sighed defeated manager Irene Fuhrmann.
Fifa has ordered Cameroon to stump up €1.6m in compensation for former coach Toni Conceição after sacking him last year.
USA! USA!! USA!!! defender Chris Richards is heading for Crystal Palace from Bayern Munich.
Dwight Gayle, who seems to reside in the shadowed hinterland between Premier League and Championship, has levered himself down to Stoke from Newcastle.
Everton fans will resume their protests outside Goodison Park on Saturday in an attempt to invite more scrutiny on the “mismanagement” of the club under owner Farhad Moshiri.
Crystal Palace and Leeds have been wowing fans in Australia with a flamin’ 1-1 pre-season Perth draw. “Compared to some other teams, we are a little bit behind, especially tactically,” warned Eagles boss Patrick Vieira.
And Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag thinks he knows how Harry Maguire can silence the boos. “If you perform, it slows down,” he cooed.
STILL WANT MORE?
Karen Carney looks at what we learned about England from their win over Spain.
And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!