During a visit to Saudi Arabia, Barcelona’s president Joan Laporta sat down with the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat (adapted by Marca), in which he discussed his team’s prospects in La Liga this season, as well as his hope that they will make the signings of the two João’s (Félix and Cancelo) permanent.
The two Portuguese players have been pivotal in Barcelona’s season thus far, and it is unsurprising that the club wishes to make the deals permanent, a wish that Laporta has not tried to hide, “We want them to stay at Barcelona. We want to start negotiations as soon as possible because, as you know, Deco is looking for the best way to negotiate. We have a good relationship with Atletico Madrid and Manchester City.”
Difficulties may arise, especially in the case of Félix, whose parent club, Atlético, have slapped an 80 million euro price tag on the forward, a fee which Barcelona simply cannot afford. However, there is hope that they will be able to dramatically reduce this price, especially given Félix is very keen on the move. In the case of Cancelo, negotiations will likely be easier with former manager Pep Guardiola. It is no secret that the relationship is broken beyond repair, and the full-back is unlikely to return to the City fold while Guardiola remains at the club, which will put Barcelona in a favourable position when negotiations start.
Laporta also discussed his side’s current form and their hopes of again winning La Liga. “I am convinced that we will achieve it (winning La Liga) because injured players have returned to the team. As you saw against Atlético, we have gone back to controlling the game; we’re controlling possession, and when we control possession, we are unstoppable.”
Barcelona have a key upcoming game this Sunday against Girona, currently second in the league on joint points with leaders Real Madrid with 38 points. Laporta was full of praise for their Catalan rivals, who he believes have the potential to finish in the Champions League spots this year.
In regard to his own team’s chances this year in the Champions League, Laporta remains hopeful that if they can keep all their players fit, “Barcelona will be the favourite to win the Champions League.”
GSFN | Finn Entwistle