Joan Laporta, the president of Barcelona, has announced that “the club is going to work to have a more competitive team for next season”, after the Catalans won the League four years after the last one (2018-2019). The squad to which the club aspires is already designed by Xavi Hernández, the coach and the figure who has emerged stronger from the success finally achieved at the RCDE Stadium, once he has responded to the challenge he took on when he arrived at the Camp Nou in November of 2021: “There is no transition that is worth it, you have to win titles; that is Barça”. The coach admits that he has gained “stability and credibility” and feels that he has more authority and power with the 27th league title in Barça’s history.
The priorities of Xavi’s plan are not to transfer any holder and sign half a dozen footballers to increase the talent of the squad already remodeled with the 200 million invested in the last two markets by Laporta’s board. The objectives are: a right-back —Foyth if possible or Cancelo on loan—, a midfielder to replace Busquets —Zubimendi is the favorite—, a center forward —Vítor Roque or Aubameyang—, a winger —Carrasco if he doesn’t retains Abde-, a center-back -Íñigo Martínez-, Gundogan and Messi. The Argentine is willing to negotiate a downward contract as long as Barça finds a competitive team to aspire to victory in the European competition after the last success in Berlin 2015.
“I have spoken with Leo,” Laporta announced to TV-3. “You have to redirect a situation that occurred because I had to put the institution before everything, even the best player in the world,” he explained, referring to the departure of the Argentine from Barça. “We have sent messages to each other lately,” he insisted, to later warn that the entity did not have enough money to face the economic conditions: “To enter according to what figures would be to back down and find ourselves again with a situation that I do not want. But let no one doubt: Messi loves Barça”.
The club will only be able to sign if the League first approves a viability plan that contemplates a policy of extreme austerity until it can present 250 million benefits and have a salary limit – the salary mass should go from 650 to 450 million. Once it is no longer possible to activate more levers —the assets sold exceeded 800 million—, the alternative is to transfer players, preferably substitutes, so as not to reduce the potential of the League champion squad. The list of footballers with the possibility of leaving Barça is headed by Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Kessié.
Nor is it ruled out accepting a million-dollar offer for non-essential players, such as Raphinha if Dembélé continues. The possibility of reaching agreements with those involved, however, is complicated, and even more so after the club must organize the technical secretariat due to the departure of Mateu Alemany and the doubts of Jordi Cruyff. The option is Deco, whom Laporta compares with the figure of Txiki Begiristáin, the Barça manager from 2003 to 2010.
The most urgent task in any case is to register the contracts of Araujo, Gavi, Marcos Alonso, Sergi Roberto and Iñaki Peña in the League and to renew Balde and Lamine Yamal. The commitment to youngsters, the majority coming from the quarry, is essential if we take into account the performance of Pedri (20 years old), Gavi (18), Balde (19), Araujo (24) and De Jong (26) in addition to Ansu (20).
There are no champions left from the team that reached the top of the world with Guardiola and only five had won the 2019 League: Ter Stegen, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Dembélé and Busquets. Players like Ter Stegen and Araujo have assumed leadership after the departure of Piqué and soon Busquets. The club is waiting to find out if Jordi Alba will agree to lower his salary.
“We are committed to continuing to grow and create a team for a new era,” argued Xavi, who will be asked to renew his contract that ends in 2024. “It was hard for them to believe in me as a player and the same thing has happened as a coach,” Xavi said. after he warned in his day: “It is hard when they tell you that you are not useful or you do not have personality. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to train Barça”.
“We have brought joy back to Barcelona fans; I hope it will be the first title of a splendid era” closed Laporta.
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