‘Legal’ dispute sees Liverpool, Man Utd target ‘allowed to leave for nothing’ this summer

Jason Soutar
Reported Man Utd target Gavi during a match

Barcelona are reportedly in danger of losing Gavi for nothing, meaning Man Utd or Liverpool could be set to land one of the bargains of the summer.

The La Liga giants are notably in the middle of an extremely difficult financial situation.

There have been issues over registering players and they have been limited to signing players on a free for the most part.

Barcelona spent a fair whack last summer, however, bringing in Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde.

It has been money well spent in regards to the club’s performances on the pitch in La Liga.

The Catalan club tried to sign new players in the winter transfer window, but their financial problems meant they were unable to do.

Barca have dealt with their fair share of problems and have always, somehow, been able to wriggle their way out of any difficult situations.

The latest issue they are having to contend with is the contract situation of talented midfielder Gavi.

The 18-year-old Spain international signed a new long-term contract last September, ending rumours that he would join Liverpool or Man Utd.

Six months later, Barca are suffering some registration issues. Said issue is relating to a legal battle between the Blaugrana and La Liga which goes back to January, when the league blocked the registration of Gavi as a first-team squad member due to the club’s financial position.

It was confirmed on January 24 that under La Liga rules the teenager could not be fully registered for the rest of 2022-23.

The legal dispute is ongoing and a court has now ruled in La Liga’s favour over the registration situation.

The Athletic state that Gavi’s status will return to that of an academy player due to the legal proceedings regarding the player’s new contract.

It is emphasised that the 18-year-old can still play for Barca, but the club have been dealt a huge blow as the latest update ‘means a release clause allowing him to leave for nothing this summer now comes back into effect’.

The club are intending to ‘take further legal action’, the report adds.

The report gives us some more information on the situation. It reads:

‘Gavi’s situation is a complex one — and it gets to the very heart of the incredibly tense relationship between Barcelona and La Liga.

‘When the 18-year-old signed a contract extension in September until 2026, he was still registered as an academy player.

‘The new deal included a clause that would allow him to leave as a free agent if Barca had not registered him as a first-team player by June 30, 2023. Barca could only change his status to that of a first-team player during a transfer window.

‘By late January, they had not managed to do so, with La Liga stating it could not be done as Barca were in breach of their salary limit rules.Just before the end of the January transfer window, Barca decided to seek a legal ruling, acting without La Liga’s knowledge, to try and force the competition body to register him as a first-team player.

‘According to court documents, when presenting their case, Barca claimed La Liga’s decision to reject Gavi’s was part of “a harassment campaign” against the club. Barca were successful in their legal bid.

‘On the very last day of the window, January 31, a Barcelona court ordered a temporary injunction that forced La Liga to register Gavi as a Barca first-team player, while also giving the club 20 working days to file a separate case, through which a permanent resolution over the player’s status would be reached.

‘Barcelona filed documents in support of this new case on March 2. La Liga then challenged their submission, claiming they had missed the deadline to do so by a day.

‘Last week, in a document addressed to both parties and seen by The Athletic, the court confirmed in La Liga’s favour, stating Barcelona did indeed file their documents after the deadline.

‘The court gave Barca five days to respond before making a final resolution on whether Gavi’s registration will revert to its previous status — that of an academy player.

‘On Tuesday, La Liga told The Athletic that the court had made a final ruling: to lift the temporary injunction that had forced it to recognise Gavi’s first-team registration. La Liga said it would change his registration “over the coming days”.

‘Barcelona, meanwhile, continue to claim they filed the necessary paperwork on time, and told The Athletic they intend to further appeal.’

Liverpool and Man Utd have been linked with Gavi over the past year or so, and news of a potential free transfer can only make them interested in pursuing the player once more.

Earlier this month, Goal journalist Neil Jones stated that news the Man Utd target potentially being available for nothing is “exciting” for the Reds.

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