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Laporta talks Messi, Roque, Xavi, Gundogan, Brozovic, de Jong, Pedri, Fati, Guler



Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Speaking during an interview with TV3 late on Thursday night, Barcelona president Joan Laporta made some very intriguing statements and gave insights into the club’s plans heading into the summer transfer window.

One of the main targets for Barça coming into the summer was re-signing Lionel Messi. While it appeared that the stars were aligning for the Argentine’s return, ultimately it did not materialise with the 36-year-old joining Inter Miami instead.

Opening up on how things unfolded with the entire Messi case, Laporta said: “Messi wanted to return to Barça. He had a very tough period in Paris. His father told me he didn’t want to have this pressure. We, the Culés, respect him. May he do very well in Miami.”

Talking about a possible tribute for the club legend, Laporta suggested a potential date, saying: “Barça will always be his home. I met with them to make a tribute. The opening day of the Spotify Camp Nou would be an excellent date.”

On the decision of letting Messi go two years ago, he added: “These are decisions that you have to make as president, Barça is above all, but you also have a footballing spirit and I have known it since I was a child. I had to put the institution above. They left me sad.”

The club president also spoke about the success that Barcelona achieved last season not only in men’s senior football, but other teams as well, as the club won six titles in total – men’s and women’s football league titles, roller hockey, handball, futsal, and basketball.

“The priority objective was the league for the men’s first team. It was achieved with authority. We won all six professional leagues. The women’s team won the Champions League with a historic comeback. It’s all very good, but we want more,” he said.

The Barça supremo touched upon Barcelona’s efforts to sign Vitor Roque, confirming that the operation was progressing, as he said: “Work is in progress.”

On the matter of Xavi’s new contract, Laporta stated that the manager understands that player signings and registration takes precedence at the moment.

“When the time comes we will talk. First there are priorities and Xavi understands that. We’ll talk calmly, but we want him to continue and so does he. I’m convinced that he will go further. We haven’t set a date.”

Up until now, Barcelona have announced one signing this summer – Ilkay Gundogan. Laporta spoke about the German international, saying:

“He is a player who has preferred to go to a club with prestige and has put it ahead of the money at City. Xavi has also given the player confidence. We signed a player with experience. A European champion is coming, a player with proven experience.”

On their pursuit of Martin Zubimendi and Joshua Kimmich, Laporta added: “These are operations that we are not considering at the moment, due to the significant economic level.”

Marcelo Brozovic had been heavily linked to Barça this past week, but appears to be on his way to Al Nassr. And Laporta confirmed the Catalans were no longer pursuing him as he said:

“Brozovic is also a similar case, perhaps more affordable, but he has a proposal from Arabia and we will not enter into a bidding war.”

Oriol Romeu is now being considered as an alternative to the Croatian. On him, Laporta added: “As for Oriol Romeu, Deco, and Mateu will work on that. There are a number of names that we like and we are working on them.”

Despite Arnau Tenas’ contract expiring today, Laporta confirmed that the club will hold talks with him and his agent in the coming days and agree a new deal, before loaning him out.

“With Arnau Tenas we had the option of renewing him, but he didn’t fit in because of the financial situation. We want him to remain in Barça’s orbit. He’s an excellent footballer and he’s a team player,” he said.

“Next week we will talk to Iván de la Peña and Arnau. I think we’ll reach an agreement and then he’ll go out on loan.”

On whether there will be any sales, Laporta confirmed that they had received offers for players like Ansu Fati, Pedri, and Andreas Christensen but will not sell them.

“Last year it happened and we were worse. We had an offer of €100 million for De Jong and we were right not to accept it. We’ve received offers for Pedri, Ansu Fati, Christensen, de Jong and Araújo but we think they have to continue. They are the present and the future of the club.”

Laporta also confirmed that Barcelona are trying to sign Arda Guler from Fenerbahce and the move could be for the next season.

“Today Deco was in Istanbul. La Liga allows us to make operations for next season without impacting on Fair Play. Arda Guler is a very talented player and we are trying to close the deal,” he said.

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