Laporta warns rivals: Barca are back


Joan Laporta has said “Barcelona are back” and added that they will be able to compete for the game’s best players next summer after presenting new signing Ferran Torres on Monday.

Barca let Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann leave before the season started due to financial problems, but the Catalan club’s president has now warned their rivals they’re ready to spend big to get back to the top.

After completing the signing of Torres from Manchester City for €55 million last week, Barca have been strongly linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund‘s in-demand striker Erling Haaland.

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“Allow me not to talk about individuals because it doesn’t benefit anyone,” Laporta said at Torres’ presentation amid a barrage of questions about whether the club could afford Haaland.

“We’re working on the summer window. Everything is possible if it’s done well. I am sure things will go well. Barcelona are still a reference. Every player considers the possibility of coming here.

“We still have our status in the transfer market. Everyone can get ready because Barca are back; the arrival of Ferran shows that. We’re a reference. Barca’s resurgence is a reality and the football world has realised that.”

Laporta’s optimism contrasts with the situation at Camp Nou. The club’s gross debt stands at over €1 billion and their LaLiga-imposed spending limit for the season is just €97m. They can only spend 25% of anything they save.

Barca, therefore, who sit fifth in LaLiga and were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages, are not able to register new signing Torres with the Spanish league.

“The reality is when we signed him we knew we didn’t have the salary limit,” director of football Mateu Alemany, seated alongside Laporta, explained.

“Since then, we’ve been working hard and we’re convinced we will be able to register him before Sunday. We want him available for the coach [Xavi Hernandez] as soon as possible.

“We have room to register Dani Alves, which we will do today or tomorrow. We made an exception with Ferran to sign him [without the room]. We will decide with Xavi on any more [January] signings, but there will need to be exits first. We have until the end of the month.”

Barca will be able to register Torres with the league if they renew Ousmane Dembele‘s contract. He is in the final six months of his deal and if he pens new terms it would allow the club to spread the amortisation payments for his transfer fee over a longer length of time.

However, sources told ESPN last week there had been a setback in talks to extend Dembele’s contract as Barca await a response from the player’s agents.

“It’s not true there will be another meeting,” Alemany said. “There has been contact with his camp for months. They know the club’s position, that we want him to stay.

“There’s a renewal offer on the table and that’s with them. It can’t be put off for much longer, we’re waiting for a definitive answer.”

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