Joan Laporta looked like a winner before the votes were even counted on Sunday and even before the official campaigns had begun.
He was confirmed as Barcelona’s new president on Sunday night With just over 54 percent of the votes, some way ahead of Victor Font and Toni Freixa.
Now, Barcelona need to be reformulated. Starting with the serious financial crisis they’re facing and Lionel Messi‘s contract, as well as the renovation of the Camp Nou, Laporta has a lot of work on his hands.
Laporta has to get to work on Messi‘s contract. Renewing his deal will come at a big cost to the club, but his exit would hit income hard and it would come as an emotional blow as well.
The president played the Messi card countless times throughout his campaign and he believes that convincing the Argentine to stay is more important than managing finances, for now.
Decisions need to be made to start shaping next season’s squad.
So far, Laporta has held his cards close to his chest, but Mateu Alemany is his right-hand man and expected to be CEO.
Jordi Cruyff could come in as sporting director to join the new-look Barcelona.
The transfer market
The post-pandemic market is a tough one to operate in, particularly for Barcelona as they have no money to spend and an astronomical wage bill.
The new board need to generate income and also need to look into renewing the contracts of Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele.
Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti are likely to be put up for sale and Sergio Aguero could come in on a free transfer.
Ronald Koeman wants Eric Garcia, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depayto arrive.
Despite Barcelona‘s rich history, the club don’t have a lot of former players working in upstairs roles.
Victor Valdes returned for a short spell under Josep Maria Bartomeu and Carles Puyol said ‘no’ to the ex-president. The latter’s absence is strange.
The club are over one billion euros in debt, with 700 million euros of that being short-term.
They have to seek funds immediately, through sponsors, more members, shirt advertising or whatever other means. Salaries also need to be readjusted.
Bartomeu changed the name of the never-ending redevelopment project, but it cannot be pushed back much longer.
Laporta has said that the big challenges “don’t scare us, they stimulate us” and few are bigger than this one.
He also spoke about Real Madrid and other rivals having already done similar projects and he wants it to be completed by 2024 to coincide with the club’s 125th anniversary.