‘Barça are back!’ Laporta insists club can compete for star names as Torres arrives

‘Barça are back!’ Laporta insists club can compete for star names as Torres arrives

The Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, has insisted that the club are “back as big players” in the transfer market after Ferran Torres was unveiled at Camp Nou.

When asked if Barça were interested in signing the Dortmund striker Erling Haaland despite the club’s financial problems, Laporta replied: “We’re working to build a top team. Everything is possible if we do things well, and I’m sure we will. Top players are open to joining Barça.

“We’re definitely recovering our status. Everybody in the world should get ready, as we are back as big players in the market.”

The club president also praised Torres, who has joined from Manchester City, with Barcelona securing a bank loan to help fund the Spain forward’s €55m (£46m) move.

Laporta said: “We knew about Ferran’s situation and we were very pleased that he wanted to come to Barça so much. He is a great player.”

The club’s director of football, Mateu Alemany, brushed off concerns about completing the formalities of the transfer. “The truth of the situation is that when we signed Torres, we knew we did not have room in terms of salaries,” Alemany said. “However, we have been making moves in different areas and we are convinced we can register him.”

Torres was presented as a Barcelona player after signing a five-and-a-half-year deal with a €1bn buyout clause. The 21-year-old said he was attracted by the “challenge” of returning the club to the top of European football.

“I am facing this challenge with ambition, humility and a lot of desire,” Torres said. “This is a dream. I had the idea of coming back to La Liga and Barça showed an interest. I want to take Barça back to where it belongs.

“Having played for two coaches with Barcelona roots, like Luis Enrique and Pep Guardiola, has helped me to adapt to the Barca DNA.”

Torres spent 16 months at the Etihad Stadium after joining City from Valencia for an initial fee of £20.8m in the summer of 2020, scoring 16 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions. The forward broke his metatarsal on international duty in October, but is expected to be fit for the Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Real Madrid on 12 January.