Barcelona will not be able to reduce its salary burden to sustainable levels until several veteran players finish their contracts, the club's financial vice president insisted on Thursday.
While presenting the budget for this season, Eduard Romeu warned it will likely take another two seasons before Barcelona is able to get its player salary load within manageable limits.
Barcelona's salaries ballooned to the most expensive in world football under former club president Josep Bartomeu.
Combined with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hefty wage bill put the club in massive debt, which it is still clawing its way out of under current president Joan Laporta.
Romeu said Barcelona had a net debt of €608 million (£534m) as of June.
Romeu said as cited by Sports Central: 'What throws us off is the amount we spend on our player salaries. 'There are a group of (contracts) that have a very important cost and between this season and the next they will disappear.'
When asked if he was referring to the contacts of veterans Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, Romeu responded with a yes.
While Busquets finishes his deal at the end of the season, Pique's and Alba's contracts expire in July 2024.
All three have multiple Champions League titles, while Pique and Busquets helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup.
In recent seasons, the club has shed the huge salaries of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho.
However, instead of lowering its salary burden, Barcelona increased spending this summer by acquiring several new players, including Robert Lewandowksi, Jules Kounde and Raphinha.
The transfer spree has increased Barcelona's total salary burden to €656m ($576m) for this season, up from €518m ($455m).
According to Romeu, the club wants to lower its salary burden to €500m (£439m), with €420m (£369m) dedicated to its first team and €80m (£70m) to pay for its reserve and youth teams.
Barcelona finished the 2021-22 season with profits after taxes of €98m (£86m), the first time it has been in the black in three years, Romeu revealed.
But that was only possible after the LaLiga giants sold 25 per cent of its Spanish league television rights for 25 years as well as other assets for €866m (£761m).
Romeu said that for 2022-23, Barcelona has budgeted €1.4 billion (£1.2b) in revenues and a profit after tax of €275m ($242m)..