Tuesday, July 5

Barca pres. hopeful of avoiding painful player sales

Barcelona president Joan Laporta says painful sales will not be necessary to pull off a big summer signing if they close a series of financial agreements they are working on before the end of June.

Frenkie de Jong has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou to raise money, while sources have confirmed Barca are interested in signing Robert Lewandowski, who confirmed his desire to leave Bayern Munich last weekend.

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“Let [sporting advisor] Jordi Cruyff and [sporting director] Mateu Alemany work,” Laporta told Catalunya Radio on Tuesday when asked about a move for Lewandowski.

“The financial situation is not great, remember. I can’t give details [on signings], but we are working hard to build a competitive team. It’s not easy. We are working to turn things around.

“If we manage to sort the club’s finances out, which I think we will, we can pull off all the operations that we are contemplating.”

ESPN revealed last week that De Jong is keen to stay at Barca despite interest from Manchester City and Manchester United. Coach Xavi Hernandez has also expressed a desire to keep the Dutch midfielder, but has conceded the club’s financial situation will dictate their summer business.

However, Laporta insists he’s optimistic the club will not have to sell De Jong to fund any incomings this season as Barca “attempt to construct a team that can compete for the Champions League next year.”

“There are Barcelona players who are coveted on the market,” Laporta added when asked if De Jong could leave.

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“We will do what is in the club’s best interests, but if what we are working on falls into place economically, there won’t be sales for financial reasons.

“I don’t know if there will be painful sales. At the moment, the priority is the club’s finances.”

“If we do what we want to do, and I think we will do it before June 30, it will be spectacular.”

Barca’s spending limit has been reduced to -€144m by LaLiga — the only negative cap in the league — and they can only spend 25 percent of any savings on wages or transfer fees until they are operating within their limit.

Meanwhile, they also need to bring in cash ahead of the closing of the financial year at the end of June to avoid a second successive season registering losses.

Laporta says the club plan to raise money by selling 49% of Barca Studios — the club’s in-house production company — and 49% of Barca Licensing and Merchandising, although negotiations for the latter are not as advanced.

The club are also in talks to sell 10% of their future television income, while they could yet sign up to LaLiga’s CVC agreement, which they originally refused to be part of, along with Real Madrid and Athletic Club.

“Signing the CVC deal guarantees we comply with fair play rules [to make signings],”” Laporta said. “But there are other options that, combined with the other deals we have spoken about, and affecting 10 percent of our television rights, would also give us the necessary cash flow.”

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Meanwhile, Laporta says he expects a decision from Ousmane Dembele next week regarding the winger’s future at the club.

Dembele is out of contract in June and has an offer to extend his stay at Barcelona, but Laporta believes he may have had his head turned by bigger offers from elsewhere.

“He would like to stay but he is tempted by other options which are presumably superior to our proposal,” the Barca president explained.

“He already has our offer and he will respond to us next week when the season ends. We would like to have the issue solved by now, but we can’t force them [to decide].

“Xavi likes him. I do, too. The player has a good relationship with the dressing room, his friend [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] has come in, but his agents also have their own interests and we’re awaiting their decision.”

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