Barcelona president talks Neymar, Messi, Dembele, Frenkie de Jong, Lewandowski, and Gavi

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta sat down for an interview with L’Esportiu earlier this week during which he reflected on the season gone by and the plans for the club’s future.

The Barça supremo spoke up on changing managers midway through the season as the club replaced Ronald Koeman with Xavi, saying:

“We have a clear diagnosis. Of course losing has consequences. We changed managers because I saw that we lost the league, and the start of this season was not good. ”

Talking about the final run-in of the season that saw Barça miss out on trophy-winning opportunities with the Femeni team and the Basketball team Laporta said:

“As the president, I recognize that our final stretch of the season was very disappointing. In all aspects. We must add that we did not win any of the finals we played last week, neither the women nor the basketball team. ”

Financial Fair Play

Talking about the club’s financial situation and the Financial Fair Play situation, Laporta appeared to be critical of La Liga, claiming that the association was making things difficult for the Catalans.

“The financial fair play rules in Spain are a hindrance, a limitation. We must overcome this struggle. We have no support from La Liga, as the rules here are very tough compared to other countries.

“We are studying processes that should improve our accounts. But the league is trying to harm us, and that surprises me. The financial fair play issue could be resolved before the 30th of June, depending on what solution we choose. ” he added.

Laporta also blamed the previous board for the club’s current financial situation, adding: “The people before us pushed Barcelona to financial ruin. The legacy we received is catastrophic. That is a fact. It takes time to turn the situation around. ”

“Our wage bill is 40% higher than the rest of the teams. This is what we have in terms of the disastrous legacy that came from years of careless management, ” the president added.

Further lambasting the previous administration, Laporta said: “You do not know the exact economic numbers until you take over the club. We knew it was bad, but not this bad.

“Salaries were deferred back then. And we’re not talking about normal ones. We’re talking about extremely high salaries that we can not pay anymore.

“Some of the salaries left by the previous board are exorbitant. Out of confidentiality and respect for privacy, I won’t say the numbers. But these are salaries that nobody else in the football market paid. It’s embarrassing by the former management. “

Contract renewals

Ousmane Dembele will become a free agent soon (Photo by Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images)

Laporta was quizzed about the future of star winger Ousmane Dembele, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Addressing the matter, he said:

“We have been trying to plan for next season, but Ousmane Dembélé’s agent is causing a problem for the club. He has had the proposal for a while. Right now, the priority is to get the economic situation back on track. ”

The club president also talked about the contract proposal that the club have tabled for Gavi and criticized the youngster’s agent for delaying the extension.

“Gavi is only 17, but he has a present and future at Barça. I do not understand why his agent is delaying the deal. Our salary proposal is more than acceptable. We’ll not improve the offer, as I do not want Barcelona to continue in the same path as the people before us.

“I would encourage Gavi’s agent to accept our renewal proposal as soon as possible. It will help us plan for next season. ” he said.

Laporta also confirmed that Barça will renew Sergi Roberto’s contract, adding that Xavi pushed for the extension of the Spaniard.

“The coach has asked us to renew Sergi Roberto. He considers that the player understands the system perfectly. He has always had full commitment to the club. We want to renew his contract, but it’s true that financial fair play is preventing us right now, ” he said.

As for the future of Dani Alves, who is also out of contract at the end of next month, Laporta added that the decision about the Brazilian rested with Xavi and the technical staff, while he thanked the veteran right-back for his contributions.

“Xavi and the technical staff will decide Dani Alves’ future. We are happy with the atmosphere he created in the dressing room, his performances, and how he has been helping the youngsters, ” Laporta said.

“We have to be grateful for what Dani Alves has given to the club. His goal is to participate in the World Cup, but his future at the club depends on the technical staff, ” he added.

Transfers

Barcelona dipped their toes in the transfer market in January to sign Ferran Torres, who has become a key player for Xavi. Hailing the Spanish forward, Laporta said:

“Ferran Torres is a great player. We’re very happy with him, but you must understand that adapting to Barcelona takes time. “

Heading into the summer, Barça have been heavily linked with a move for Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski. However, the club president refused to get drawn into the speculations, as he said:

Lewandowski has one more year in his contract with Bayern Munich. That is the situation, that’s it. ”

Frenkie de Jong is linked to an exit from Barcelona (Photo by Mark Kolbe / Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Frenkie de Jong finds himself being linked with an exit heading into the summer. And Laporta admitted to have received offers for the Dutchman, although he added that the club want to keep him.

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“Frenkie is a quality player. He knows our system. He is however, a desirable player in the market. We have received offers for him. But we think he should continue at Barcelona, ​​”he said. he said.

At the same time, though, Laporta did not rule out the possibility of sales should significant offers arrive for players.

“The market is starting to move, that’s all. We get offers because we have good players. Right now, we have to wait a little and see what happens. We could make decisions thinking about FFP. Everything is open, ” he said.

“We have players who recently renewed their contracts. They are the present and future of Barcelona. As for the rest, we have high-quality players, but they could receive offers. In this case, we have to think about the financial fair play issue, ” Laporta added.

“The financial fair play issue may force us to take decisions that we did not want to in the first place.”

Laporta also expressed his pleasure with the signing of Adama Traore, although he ruled out a permanent move for the winger due to FFP, saying:

“We are very delighted with Adama. He changed our dynamic. But I have to go back to the fair play issue, his purchase clause is very high. The market is moving, and we have Trincao on a similar situation at Wolves. We’ll see what happens, but always thinking about FFP. “

Messi and Neymar

Laporta, who has previously admitted to having no regrets about the way Lionel Messi left Barcelona last summer, reiterated the point, saying:

“Messi left the way he left. The truth is that we all wanted for him to end his career here. The thing is that when these players sign for Paris, they find that they can never leave. ”

Laporta does not see Neymar and Messi returning to Barcelona (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP via Getty Images)

There have been reports of PSG wanting to sell Neymar in the summer and Laporta opined on the former Barcelona superstar’s situation, as he said:

“I do not know if PSG would terminate Neymar’s contract. They have much more lenient systems in France. But releasing him would cost a lot of money. Regardless, they have a country behind them. Maybe they can pay off his contract directly. ”

The Barça president then revealed his admiration for the Brazilian, saying: “Who does not like Neymar? He’s an exceptional player. “

When asked if he would want to re-sign Neymar and Messi at Barcelona, ​​Laporta replied: “Only if they came on free transfers. The truth is that we’re in no position to make big money moves for these players. “They have the ability, but it would make no sense.”

UEFA and the Super League

Barcelona continue to remain part of the much-criticized European Super League project despite receiving warnings from UEFA over the rebel league.

But, Laporta claimed that the club has a cordial relationship with Europe’s governing body and he does not see UEFA suspending Barça or Real Madrid and Juventus. He also criticized state-owned clubs like Manchester City and PSG.

“We have a cordial relationship with UEFA. We think that the Champions League can be very much improved. The whole point in the discussions of the Super League is to find real solutions to all of this, ”he said. he said.

“Clubs like City and Paris are distorting the market. And there are new ones coming as well. It makes it very difficult to run a member-owned club like ours.

“I do not see UEFA suspending Barça, Real Madrid or Juventus. Honestly, they’re not in position do so. All we want is sustainable football. We do not want Russian or Arab investors to distort the market, ”he said. Laporta insisted.

Mbappe’s renewal at PSG

Kylian Mbappe signed a new contract with PSG (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP via Getty Images)

Commenting on Kylian Mbappe’s contract renewal with PSG, Laporta said: “Mbappe staying at PSG is a sad reflection on the state of football. That is what happens when you have a state funding you from behind.

“Players end up being kidnapped with money. It goes against all of the principles in the European Union. ”

As for Real Madrid missing out on signing the Frenchman, the Barça president commented: “We should not care about Mbappe not signing for Madrid. We have to focus on having a competitive team, which is what we are trying to do.

“When we do not worry about our rivals, that’s when we have done our best.”

The CVC agreement

Given that the transfer window is not far away, Barcelona are in urgent need of liquidating funds so they can ensure a solid summer window while not compromising on the day-to-day running of the club.

The CVC agreement, to that end, is seen as a major financial injection for the club, but Laporta still remains unsold over deal, insisting that there could be better proposals for the club’s broadcasting rights.

“We’re finding out the best solution for FC Barcelona. But as of now, none of them are ideal. We need one that brings income and allows us to make a profit, ” he said.

“We have several options, but we want to sell a maximum of 10% for the highest amount of money. CVC wants them for 50 years, but there are other shorter options.

“We have managed to negotiate with CVC and get an improved deal, but we’re still shocked at how little fair play it brings. We have to think well about this issue, ”he said. Laporta added.

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