Amid the traditional summer fever for new signings, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu does not want supporters to forget that the Catalan club already have a very good squad in place.
Bartomeu said last week that Barca want to sign Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti, while reports on Thursday place sporting director Robert Fernandez in Lisbon negotiating a deal for Benfica right-back Nelson Semedo.
However, despite Barca missing out on the La Liga title to Real Madrid last season, Bartomeu says new coach Ernesto Valverde still inherits a squad brimming with the world’s best talent regardless of who does or does not arrive in the next few weeks.
“I want to give some value to the current squad, we have great players,” Bartomeu said in an interview with El Periodico. “We’ve renewed [Lionel] Messi, Neymar and [Luis] Suarez. [Gerard] Pique, [Sergio] Busquets. Now we have to renew [Andres] Iniesta.
“And then there are those that will be promoted from the B team. Valverde likes to look to the academy, that’s what he’s talked about in our conversations and we value that a lot.”
However, Bartomeu also conceded that improvements can and will be made this summer.
“It’s true that we need a couple of touches to improve even more,” he said. “That’s what really worries the supporters. Everyone asks: ‘Who’s coming? Who’s not coming?’ Because that’s what really generates excitement.
“We’re working on it. Two or three players will come in from outside the club. There’s a long way to go in the window, we’ve got until the end of August. Patience.
“There are some signings [down the line], but I can’t announce them until they’re done. Robert is very clear on who he wants.”
Barca’s budget starts at €60 million, Bartomeu says, plus any additional money brought in from player sales, and he “hopes” that at least one player is sold for more than €20m.
The Catalan club’s transfer activity has been minimal so far this summer. Gerard Deulofeu and Marlon Santos have been signed on permanent deals, while Jeremy Mathieu and Cristian Tello have left for Sporting Lisbon and Real Betis respectively.