I have headlined this column with a phrase borrowed from an article by Jorge Valdano in EL PAÍS and which perfectly defines how Barcelona president Joan Laporta is dealing with the club’s current situation. The old adage of seeing the bright side doesn’t do justice to this man’s indomitable spirit. Amid Barca’s financial ruin, Laporta recently signed Ferran Torres from Manchester City, announced the arrival of Álvaro Morata from Juventus and said, Urbi and Orbi, that he will go after Erling Haaland and anyone else who tickles his imagination. “Barcelona are back,” he said casually on Tuesday, causing Spanish daily La Vanguardia to pinpoint “the spirit of the banner”. Another case of “here we go again!” like his famous “see you again”, planted in the heart of Madridismo during the presidential campaign at Camp Nou.

Barcelona are back, but not in the dark

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And, of course, a new stadium. Meanwhile, Mateu Alemany, who has been much more cautious in his public statements, will have to do everything possible to open a small crack in Barca’s terrifying accounts to slip in the cost of signing Torres. Barcelona currently bear the brunt of two huge salaries for surplus-to-needs players: Philippe Coutinho (€ 20m per year) and Samuel Umtiti (€ 13m). Ousmane Dembélé. who can be a useful player from time to time when in good shape, earns 16 million euros per year. Barca would be happy enough if they left for the destination they have in mind in June six months earlier to save the Frenchman half of the season’s salary. As for Coutinho and Umtiti, I doubt there are any other clubs that would face them at this point.

In the meantime, Whether or not Barca succeed in registering Torres in La Liga, the Spain international has tested positive for covid-19 to get to the heart of the matter. Laporta too, which is hardly surprising since he spent half a day glued to Torres, and while his optimism is made of steel, it seems his body is less so. While in isolation, Alemany will get down to the serious work of weaving the fabric of Barca’s accounts to see if they succeed with La Liga boss Javier Tebas. As it stands, Xavi continues to patiently rebuild a squad that will be starved of Luuk de Jong for the game against Linares as the Dutchman did what he could against Mallorca this weekend.

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