Barcelona have been told they cannot sign Robert Lewandowski with a repeat of their Lionel Messi agony on the cards.
The Spanish giants have been heavily linked with a move for wantaway Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, 33. But La Liga president Javier Tebas have issued a warning that they need to sell before they can buy.
They could therefore be forced to let another player go, just like they had to last summer with Messi. A new contract for the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner couldn't be agreed as it would have broken the league's financial regulations, and he subsequently joined PSG instead.
Speaking to Marca, Tebas said: "They know what they have to do. They know perfectly well our economic control rules and their financial situation.
"The rules are there to avoid major economic problems. I don't know if they will sell De Jong, Pedri or Pepito Perez. They know what they have to do – sell assets and earn more, this is what they have to do.
"Barca has had many accumulated losses in the last tax years, some which could have been avoided and they have to stock the pantry. Just as Madrid have stocked up, Barcelona have emptied it. Today they cannot sign him."
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Lewandowski is reported to have a verbal agreement in place with Camp Nou chiefs, who were hoping to cash in on Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong but may not be able to after he told ESPN he wants to stay.
Speaking while on international with Poland this week, Lewandowski declared his Bayern career is done and dusted. He said: "My era at Bayern is over. I don’t see any possibility to continue playing for this club.
"Bayern’s a serious club and I believe they won’t keep me – I don’t want to play there any more. A transfer is the best solution. I hope they don’t stop me."
Barca are looking for cheap signings this summer but Lewandowski would warrant a fee, with one year remaining on his Bayern contract. Meanwhile, the German club have made it clear that they intent to hold onto their star man.
There are a number of other clubs interested in the striker's services as well, though. Real Madrid may be in the running after missing out on Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, while Chelsea have been named as a possible destination too.
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