Barcelona president Joan Laporta says he wants “three or four more signings” this summer after Memphis Depay became the latest star to join their ranks.
The club announced a deal had been agreed with the Lyon forward, with Depay now set to complete his switch when his contract expires.
“Dream big kid.. Dream big,” Depay tweeted as the news broke. “Super excited to join my new club!”
He follows ex-Man City duo Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero to the Nou Camp, while Emerson Royal is set to return after a loan spell with Real Betis.
But Laporta is not prepared to rest on his laurels as he promised more transfer activity before the window shuts.
Speaking ahead of Depay’s announcement, he told La Vanguardia (via Mundo Deportivo ) that “signings will be 3 or 4 more.”
“We’re going to make a very competitive team,” he added. “We’ve already seen it with the additions of Eric Garcia, Aguero and Emerson and the other players who are on the verge of signing.”
Despite Laporta’s statement, Barcelona are limited in the business they can do over the coming months as he conceded the club’s finances were “in a worse state than I expected”.
Missing out on Georginio Wijnaldum to Paris Saint-Germain was a blow to Laporta’s grand plan, as he rued the former Dutch midfielder “escaping us”.
Yet it is only a small bump in the road for the Barca chief as he looks to make his team a competitive force on the field again.
Tying Lionel Messi down to a new contract remains of paramount importance, but there is general feeling that a deal will be agreed for the Argentine to stay put.
Barca have certainly made the right moves in recent weeks to convince Messi they are rebuilding a side capable of mounting a challenge in the Champions League and La Liga.
“We’re in communication. He’s excited and I am grateful for the effort he’s putting in to stay,” Laporta said of Messi, adding that Aguero was also working to persuade his compatriot.
However, any new additions will surely need to be more free transfers or funded by the sale of their current stars.
The likes of Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho are two of the players who could be offloaded to raise funds.
Coutinho is surplus to requirements after failing to prove his worth following his mega-money switch from Liverpool, with Barca now prepared to cut their losses.
Dembele meanwhile is still part of Ronald Koeman’s plans but has just 12 months remaining on his contract.
Should Barca fail to convince him to stick around, it is likely they will tout him out to potential suitors this summer rather than lose him for nothing.
Samuel Umtiti, Sergi Roberto, Junior Firpo, Martin Braithwaite and Matheus Fernandes are among the stars who could also be moved on, while the future of Miralem Pjanic is uncertain.
Barcelona’s ideal transfer target is Erling Haaland, but with the youngster looking set to stay at Borussia Dortmund for another year, they could turn their attentions to either Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez or Eintracht Frankfurt’s Andre Silva, though neither would come cheap.
Another raid on Man City is also in their sights as Bernardo Silva is reportedly on their wishlist, and AZ Alkmaar left-back Owen Wijndal has been identified as a solid option to provide competition to Jordi Alba.
Laporta still faces a mammoth task to get Barcelona’s books in order though, as he revealed the contract model the club had been using was proving troublesome.
“We’ve encountered a squad with old-fashioned contracts and we will have to work out what to do.
The existing contracts can be changed or restructured. After that, there are more drastic measures that we hope we don’t have to adopt.
“But nothing’s ruled out if it’s for the good of the club. Between salaries and amortisations, it’s about €650m annually, which is more than the club’s revenue.
These salaries are out-of-step with the current market.”