Gavi could leave for FREE: Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City on standby to sign Barcelona wonderkid after extraordinary legal ruling

Gavi of FC Barcelona – target for Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City – looks on during the LaLiga Santander match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Spotify Camp Nou on March 19, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
(Image credit: Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Barcelona star Gavi could move to Liverpool, Manchester United or Manchester City this summer… for absolutely nothing. 

The La Masia academy graduate agreed a new deal with his boyhood club back in September and has seen his No.30 squad number upgraded to No.6 – the number that his manager Xavi wore. But with La Liga unhappy with Barcelona flouting their spending limits, 18-year-old Gavi's latest contract appears to be null and void.

This would relegate him back to academy player status. With it, he'd lose not only his squad number but assurances that Barcelona could receive a fee for his services. 

Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City target, Gavi, has had his Barcelona contract overturned

Gavi central midfield of Barcelona and Spain in action during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 16, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

Gavi is no longer a first-team player at Barcelona, officially (Image credit: Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Barcelona have struggled to register players during this particularly difficult financial period. 

With La Liga stating that Gavi's new deal could not be agreed if the Catalan outfit were in breach of salary limit regulations, Barça went behind the league's back, taking legal action that stated that the teen's rejected contract was a small part of a larger "harassment campaign" towards the five-time Champions League winners. Gavi was registered as a first-team player on January 31, thanks to a temporary injunction. 

However, a court ruling on Tuesday, as reported by ESPN, claimed that Barça missed the subsequent deadline to officially file their lawsuit. As part of the competition's rules, La Liga has a spending limit of around €600 million, which Barcelona have been said to be close to breaking on numerous occasions.

Barça now have 20 days to appeal. If Gavi is not registered with the first team by July 1, his contract will be void. 

Barça are now scrambling for a solution

Barcelona manager Xavi speaks to the media during a press conference on 15 February, 2023 ahead of the Europa League knockout round play-off match between Barcelona and Manchester United in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Xavi could lose one of his most important players at the end of the season (Image credit: Joan Valis/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Unless Barcelona can reduce their wage bill, they could lose Gavi for free – and the ramifications certainly evoke memories of Lionel Messi leaving in the same way. There's precedent for big stars exiting out of the blue.

While Messi was priced out of most European sides' wage structures, however, Premier League clubs would likely queue up to sign Gavi if he were made available for free. Liverpool have historic interest, having chased the teenager since before he signed this new deal, while Manchester City have the Pep Guardiola factor. Manchester United would be likely to enter the race, too, while Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and perhaps even Real Madrid can't be ruled out entirely. 

It seems as if Gavi would favour remaining at Barça, despite interest from elsewhere. The midfielder has come through the ranks at the club, is enjoying his football under Xavi and the Blaugrana are running away with the league title in Spain. Though there was interest from elsewhere at one stage, he did commit his future to the club.

The temporary injunction has been removed and Barcelona have told The Athletic that they intend to appeal the decision. But this is just the latest in a long line of instances in which Barça have fallen foul of spending limits and paid the price.

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.