Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said the club aims to make “four or five reinforcements” this summer but will not “lose their heads” in the pursuit of a big-name signing.
In an exclusive interview with Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona president Joan Laporta weighs in on issues in the world of FC Barcelona. New signings, the Super League and what he thinks of Xavi’s work so far. He also reveals progress in renewal talks with multiple first team players, and gives fans an update on their search for a big-money signing in the summer.
Despite being linked with star players like Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, Joan Laporta assures fans that the club will not punch above its weight class in the pursuit of a star signing.
“We will not carry out an operation that would put the club at risk. We will not be losing our heads trying to do these huge deals”, he said.
“I will not talk about specific players players, because if i do that, all i will do is harm the interests of the club”, Laporta said. “Talking about a player we intend to sign will only increase the asking price.”
But Laporta insist that won’t hinder Barcelona’s pulling-power.
“Most of the players that want to come to Barça (want to because) they like the club, the team, our philosophy, our way of working, of understanding football.”
“All i can say is that the technical secretary are working on improving the squad”, Laporta said. “We will prioritise the team – and will not be looking for players who put themselves above the team. We want to bring in players that can fit into the Barcelona style of play. Our style is the key to everything.”
Barcelona have already completed reported deals with AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen. Cesar Azpilicueta is also on the radar. On top of those three, Laporta says the club is looking to complete a further signing or two.
“We’re currently working on increasing the salary cap in order to finance the four or five signings that we think the team needs.”
Laporta also weighed in on the teams french winger Ousmane Dembele whose contract runs out this summer. The President said we’re currently witnessing Dembele in his best ever form. Despite that, the club is still unsure of whether the player wants to stay at the club beyond this summer.
“We offered him a contract that expired on December 20 last year. He decided not to sign. Xavi says he’s counting on him because he’s a player that makes a difference”, he said.
“If he wants to continue he has to accept the salary level we’re setting. We’re putting salaries on a level that will help maintain the sustainability and balance of the club.”
Sergi Roberto’s contract also expires this summer.
“Sergi Roberto’s future is in the hands of him and his agents. He was offered a renewal but did not sign. We’ll see. We’ll talk to him and get a better understanding between us.”, Laporta added.
Araujo and Gavi’s contracts
Araujo and Gavi’s contracts expire in the summer of 2023. Laporta says both renewals are going as planned.
“We have to stay within our framework when negotiating renewals. But so far everything is going perfectly. Both want to continue and we also want them to stay at the club for years to come.”
“Overall, we are definitely on the right track”, Laporta said.
“We haven’t offered him a contract renewal yet, but we’ll talk about it as we go along. Xavi can be here for as long as he wants
“Just look at the 4-0 victory in Madrid. Winning in this way always generates confidence and pride. You see it in the celebrations. Times are good at the moment. The Culés are proud. We’ve brought back joy to everyone that loves FC Barcelona.”
But Laporta was more impressed by the way Xavi’s team played, rather than the score.
“I was enjoying the game and I saw that we were far superior in terms of the way we played. We could have scored more, but I wasn’t paying attention to the score. I was paying attention to how we played.”
Despite the spike in form since Ronald Koeman was sacked, Laporta does not regret not bringing Xavi in earlier.
“I have no regrets at all. I have done everything in the club’s best interests. Sometimes It turns out good sometimes it turns out bad. That’s life. I don’t have regrets like that.”
“I was in favour of sacking Koeman after last season. But we had just won the cup. I told him that he wasn’t in my long-term plans. I took some time to think and ended up giving him a second chance. We had loads of injuries at the time.
“But i saw that it went in the wrong direction. We had spoken with Xavi ever since the elections. Mateu (Alemany) and Rafa (Yuste) flew over to Qatar and convinced Xavi to come.”
The Super League will return
After the Super League was abandoned by the English founder clubs many thought the project was history. But Laporta insists the project is not dead.
“The Super League is far from abandoned. We are there with Juventus, Madrid and other teams waiting, and the English always pending, Manchester United, Liverpool, also German teams. They’re awaiting confirmation on the format. We’re in on it.
“And every legal action that has been taken against the project has been unsuccessful. We’ve won every case up until now. We’re awaiting the outcome of another case from the European court, which will hopefully be resolved by the end of the year.”