Wednesday 2 November 2016 09:42, UK
Barcelona and Real Madrid are tying down their big stars to ward off Premier League interest, says Guillem Balague
Both La Liga giants have announced new deals for their biggest players in recent weeks, with Neymar penning a new deal at the Nou Camp a few weeks ago and Gareth Bale following suit in the last couple of days.
The contracts offer improved salaries for the stars but also insurance for the teams with eye-watering buy-out clauses to keep them at their respective clubs.
And Sky Sports' Spanish football expert believes that it is the spending power of England's top tier that has seen them take measures to keep their best players.
"It's interesting why it is happening. Real Madrid are spending 31 million Euros more on wages for next season in their budget to stop the Premier League poaching those players," he told Sky Sports News HQ.
Gareth Bale needs to "go up a level" if he is to join La Liga's elite group, says Terry Gibson
"It is the threat of the Premier League that both Josep Maria Bartomeu and Florentino Perez are worried about because of the financial power and to keep the same kind of competitiveness that they have, both teams want to keep those players and be able to compete.
"To do so of course, they have to tell Gareth Bale what he has heard in the last few months 'you will be our number one. Forget Cristiano Ronaldo, it's all about you'. He is convinced that he wants to spend the best years of his life at Real Madrid and that's why he renewed his contract."
Balague was speaking after conducting an interview with Barcelona president Bartomeu, and discussed the possibility of a new contract for Luis Suarez, who has been linked to Manchester United in recent weeks.
"They are having conversations with Suarez. He thinks he has got enough to convince him to stay. It's not just about the city, it is somewhere that Suarez wanted to come," he added.
"His wife's family live outside Barcelona and it was always a dream of his to go there and play for the club. The sitting down is all about finances of course.
Josep Maria Bartomeu has played down reports linking Man Utd to a move for Luis Suarez
"Meanwhile, while the contract doesn't get sorted, you will get stories like that [about United] and he said there's nothing he can do about that if clubs want to show interest.
"They are making a huge effort again to improve the wages of all the big stars. Neymar was renewed already, Suarez will be next and of course, after that, it will be Lionel Messi."
Balague also touched on the subject of Man City manager Pep Guardiola one day returning to the club with the Barcelona president, who did not rule it out.
"He was very honest about it and said 'why not?' and to be honest, it was the first time I have heard him say that because so far they have tried to disassociate Pep Guardiola with a future at Barcelona because there is already a coach there but it was interesting to hear that.
"He is an asset for Barcelona. He comes from there, he was the captain and why not make a return at some point."