Barcelona president Joan Laporta has promised supporters the club more transfer activity before the start of the 2021-22 season and has explained how the cash-strapped Catalan giants plan to strengthen the squad.
The club has already completed the signings of Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero, and Emerson Royal, but Laporta says more players will follow and swap deals are being explored, as reported by the club’s official website.
“We have to follow the rules, we will follow them. There will be more sales and loans,” he said. “Without paying a transfer fee. We will do a lot of loans, because we have a very high sports payroll compared to other clubs.”
Barca’s enormous debts mean big-name signings look impossible this summer, unless the club is able to sell some first-team players for high prices, and free transfers and loan deals are more unlikely.
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Memphis Depay Next To Arrive?
The next player to arrive at the Camp Nou is expected to be Netherlands international Memphis Depay. The forward has been linked with a move for some time but hinted a deal has now been done at a news conference on Wednesday, as reported by Marca.
“Everyone knows that I have been negotiating with Barcelona for some time,” he said. “I want to play with Ronald Koeman. Now we have to wait, but there will be news soon.”
Depay will arrive on a free transfer after his contract with French side Lyon expires at the end of June. According to ESPN, the transfer should be finalized “by the end of the week” as the “necessary paperwork” has already been exchanged.
The forward is set to play for Netherlands again on Thursday against Austria at the 2020 European Championship, and official confirmation could follow that game should the Oranje win and seal a place in the knockout rounds, according to Sport.
Laporta Talks Messi Future
Another player whose contract is rapidly expiring is Barcelona captain Lionel Messi. Laporta also offered an update on the Argentina international’s future at the club and remains confident he will stay.
“I’m calm, things are going well,” he explained. “I think Messi will continue playing at Barcelona. It’s not easy, but we’re working on it and we want to do it as soon as possible.”
There has been speculation Messi will sign a deal that will see him stay at Barcelona for another two years. The captain would then head to MLS for a spell before returning to Barca to take up a non-playing role at the club.
Laporta was also asked if had a date in mind of when Messi’s future would be sorted but did not give much away.
“We do not set dates, but given the choice, I would like it to be the 24th [of June] which is my saint’s day and Leo’s birthday. Or else the 29th which is my birthday. It would be a good gift,” he said. “It would be great, but I can’t guarantee anything myself.”
Messi is currently with the Argentina squad for the Copa America. The captain scored in the team’s opening game against Chile which ended in a 1-1 draw.