Joan Laporta said « Barcelona are back » and added that they will be able to compete for the best players in the game next summer after introducing new signing Ferran Torres on Monday.
Barca let Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann leave ahead of the start of the season due to financial issues, but the Catalan club president has now warned rivals they are prepared to spend big to get back to the top.
After concluding the signing of Torres from Manchester City for € 55million last week, Barca have been heavily linked with a move by wanted Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
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“Let me not talk about individuals because it doesn’t benefit anyone,” Laporta said when introducing Torres amid a barrage of questions about the club’s ability to afford Haaland.
“We are working on the summer window. Anything is possible if it’s done right. I’m sure things will go well. Barcelona remains a benchmark. Every player is considering the possibility of coming here.
“We still have our status in the transfer market. Anyone can prepare because Barça is back; the arrival of Ferran shows it. We are a benchmark. Barca’s resurgence is a reality and the football world has understood that. «
Laporta’s optimism contrasts with the situation at Camp Nou. The club’s gross debt stands at over € 1 billion and the La Liga spending limit for the season is only € 97million. They can only spend 25% of whatever they save.
Barca, who sit fifth in La Liga and were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage, are therefore unable to register another Torres signing with the Spanish league.
« The reality is that when we signed it, we knew we didn’t have the salary limit, » explained football director Mateu Alemany, sitting alongside Laporta.
“Since then we have worked hard and are confident that we can enter it before Sunday. We want him to be available for the coach [Xavi Hernandez] as soon as possible.
“We have room to record 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 more [January] signatures, but it will take exits first. We have until the end of the month. «
Barca will be able to put Torres in the league if he renews Ousmane Dembele’s contract. He’s in the last six months of his contract and if he writes any new terms, that would allow the club to spread the amortization payments of his transfer fees over a longer period.
However, sources told ESPN last week that there had been a setback in talks to extend Dembele’s contract as Barca await a response from the player’s agents.
« It is not true that there will be another meeting, » Alemany said. “There have been contacts with his camp for months. They know the position of the club, which we want to stay.
“There’s a renewal offer on the table and it’s with them. This cannot be postponed any longer, we are waiting for a final answer. «