Former Barcelona president Laporta has delivered his opinions about Dembele and Valverde.
Should Dembele have left the club?
Joan Laporta: “I don’t think so, because I think Dembele is really good. The problem with him is that he’s not stable, and the team should hire a tutor for him. But if the club will handle him, Dembele can turn into something really special.
I like Dembele because he is like a kid. Last season Dembele was the only player other than Messi who won important matches for Barca.”
What do you think about Valverde?
Joan Laporta: “First of all, he’s a great man on a personal level. But I am as critic for him as you are as fans. I think you should follow the system and don’t spoil it. That’s what makes the difference, and that doesn’t matter if you play 343, 443 or 442.
With all the talent that we have at home, you have to use La Masia in order to sustain financially and football wise. For me, it was a surprise, although I knew that he was not the biggest supporter of the Cruyff system. But I thought that he would promote players from La Masia because I saw how he was at athletic. However, I think that part of it is the fault of the board who don’t encourage using the academy players enough.”
“For example, Frank Rijkaard let Messi play at the age of 16. Another coach wouldn’t take that risk. But he did it also with Pedro. Also, Pep Guardiola sold Yaya Toure in order to make room for Busquets. And Yaya was an amazing player, but when you have a player from home who can do the job, you should promote him. A homegrown player has more respect and love for the club.
Right now we have a board that prefers to go to the market in search for players. And Valverde is the type of coach who will never speak against the board.
Valverde is a nice person, and the players recognize it. But maybe he is too nice sometimes. However, Griezmann might help and maybe Neymar, and we could have a great season. If the stars will accept Griezmann, he will do great.
With Messi, Suarez, Griezmann, maybe Neymar…and Dembele(laughs) – We should have a great season.”