“I don’t think we’ll be prevented from registering these players,” Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Sunday during Jules Koundé's unveiling. We saw an almost euphoric Laporta, and it’s little wonder. He’s giving Xavi everything the head coach has asked him for. And he’d already made a good few signings in January, bringing in Adama Traoré, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ferran Torres to bolster a feeble attack that was short on firepower and came with a long injury list. (There was also defender Dani Alves, signed in December and registered when the mid-season window opened.) Now, Laporta has continued his Barça overhaul with the arrivals of Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, Franck Kessié, Koundé and the jewel in the crown, Robert Lewandowski. And more signings are expected…
Plenty of bodies in at Barça... but not so many out
What hasn’t gone so well for Barça is player sales. Laporta says there’s still a way to go until 31 August, but LaLiga starts before then. The Blaugrana play their opener on Saturday 13th against Rayo Vallecano (who should be congratulated for their excellent draw at Old Trafford on Sunday) and the question is: how many of the new recruits will Xavi be able to field if the club hasn’t managed to offload Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay - both high earners not lacking in suitors - or agree a pay cut with Gerard Piqué, who is starting to be viewed as a bit of a millstone? Laporta’s economic ‘levers’ have raised cash to spend on signings, but now Barça need players to depart if they’re to stay within their salary cap.
LaLiga’s financial rules are there for a reason
LaLiga’s financial-fair-play rules aren’t some Javier Tebas whim there to be shot at by Laporta; they’re a mechanism that has rid Spanish soccer of its indulgent tendencies. You no longer see players’ wages not being paid, attempted strikes, bankruptcies, huge outstanding tax bills… It’s been good for everyone. It’s widely felt (and Laporta has said so himself) that Josep Maria Bartomeu got Barça into such a financial mess because LaLiga was too happy to turn a blind eye. It’s unlikely that’ll happen again. Among other reasons because Spanish soccer fans - other than those who support Barça - are suspicious, shocked even, at the Catalans’ gung-ho transfer window. I feel like it’s going to kick off royally in the days ahead.