Juve and Barca could BOTH post £50m profits from Pjanic and Arthur

REVEALED: How Juventus and Barcelona could BOTH post £50m-plus profits from transfers involving Miralem Pjanic and Arthur… and could it explain Man City’s strange swap deal for Joao Cancelo and Danilo?

  • Barcelona have accepted an €80m offer from Juventus for midfielder Arthur
  • Catalans are keen on signing Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic in a separate €70m deal
  • Clubs immediately book player sales to the accounts, but can spread purchases over the length of a player’s contract
  • This could explain why Man City’s deals with Juventus for Joao Cancelo and Danilo were kept separate

In a summer where even the biggest clubs are cutting costs and holding back on big transfer sums, the deals between Barcelona and Juventus for midfielders Miralem Pjanic and Arthur are outliers. 

Juventus have agreed an €80m (£73m) deal for 23-year-old Brazilian Arthur, with Barcelona set to bring in 30-year-old Pjanic for €70m (£64m).

On the surface the deals would appear to involved a simple exchange of €10m (£9.1m) between two clubs for whom that sum is a drop in the ocean, even in a post-Covid-19 world. But football finance expert The Swiss Ramble has revealed how both clubs could post £50m-plus profits from the transfers. 

Arthur Melo has agreed to join Juventus this week in a £73million deal from Juventus

It may explain why the two European giants, who fight a perpetual battle to keep in line with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, are so keen on a swap which feels like it would have little net impact on their respective teams. That is to say that both are top class midfielders, and while Pjanic is a better player today, that is negated by the fact that Arthur is seven years younger.

Now on to the complicated bit, with full credit and thanks to The Swiss Ramble.  

They start by explaining that when a player is bought, his purchase costs are spread over the years of his contract in a club’s accounts, whereas player sales are immediately booked to the accounts. This is the key to the whole equation. 

Players are considered assets, so transfer fees are not fully expensed in the year they are purchased, and instead written off evenly over the length of a contract in a process called player amortisation.   

Arthur was bought by Barcelona from Gremio for €30m (£27.4m) on a six-year contract two years ago, so the annual amortisation is divided by six to make €5m (£4.6m). The player’s ‘book value’ reduces by €5m (£4.6m) a year, so it is now €20m (£18.3m).

If Arthur is sold for €80m (£73m) this summer then, Barca’s profit would be €60m (£54.8m) on the books.  

Moving on to Pjanic, he was purchased by Juventus for €35m (£32m) on a five-year contract in 2016, so the annual ammortisation was €7m (£6.4m). His book value reduced by €7m (£6.4m) a year, so was €21m (£19.2m) when he signed a two-year extension in 2018. Now on a five year-contract, the €21m (£19.2m) divided by five becomes €4.2m (£3.8m) a year. Two years on, his value on the accounts is therefore now €13m (£11.9m).

Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic is the subject of interest from Spanish giants Barcelona

So if Pjanic is sold for €70m (£64m), crucially in a deal separate to Arthur’s, Juventus are able to record a €57m (£52.1m) profit on the 30-year-old. 

It is the very definition of a win-win situation, and perhaps goes some way to explaining the eyebrow-raising deals between Juve and Manchester City for right-backs Joao Cancelo and Danilo last summer. Cancelo was valued at £60m when signed by City, while Danilo was valued at £34m when signed by Juventus. Both transfer fees seemed inflated at the time, and even more so now given that neither has managed to hold down a regular spot at their respective clubs.

As The Swiss Ramble report, we may see plenty more of these sorts of deals with the financial difficulties presented to football clubs by the coronavirus pandemic. 

MailOnline has contacted Manchester City for comment. 

Joao Cancelo (left) was valued at £60m in his move , but has not lived up to his price tag

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