Barcelona may have wrapped up a $62 million deal with Manchester City for Ferran Torres, but the Spain international is not yet registered at Camp Nou and sales in the January window will need to be sanctioned in order to free up funds.
The La Liga giants have long been rumored to be preparing for an exodus of fringe players, even before agreeing to bring a highly-rated Spain international forward back to his homeland.
Barca boss Xavi is, however, unable to say with any certainty when Torres will be freed to make his competitive debut for the Blaugrana as more movement is required on transfer and contract fronts in Catalunya. Xavi has told reporters of his latest addition and plans to get him fully absorbed into the fold.
“Ferran Torres is a spectacular signing, both as a player and a person,” Xavi said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Barcelona’s game against Girona on Tuesday. “He’s coming off an important injury, he has fantastic commitment, he’s going to give us a lot, I’ve no doubt about it.
“He can play in different positions, I’m very happy with the effort made by the club to get him. We’ll see how the salary cap situation is, if it’s possible right away. There has to be players leaving. If we get [Ousmane] Dembele to re-sign his contract and lower his pay it will allow us to sign Torres and we hope that it can happen.”
Barca signed Torres in a bid to bolster their attack, with the plan being to pair him with the World Cup-winning Frenchman at some stage. After the retirement of Sergio Aguero and the injury to Martin Braithwaite, Barcelona was thin up front and needed reinforcements. Still, the club will need to trim the fat in other areas.
Dembele is due to hit free agency in the summer and is yet to offer any indication that he will be committing to a new contract. Xavi remains convinced that long-running talks with the 24-year-old winger can deliver a positive outcome, with the thinking being that there is no reason for a player of considerable potential to consider a move elsewhere.
The Blaugrana boss said of Dembele’s future: “It’s a negotiation but the agents are difficult. I still have hopes that he will end up staying. At Barcelona we have a clear position and we are still in the process, it is not over. We have to wait. I have spoken with [Dembele] again and I think it is possible and I hope that Ousmane will make the effort to stay. He has a fantastic offer, but there is always a tug of war.
“I hope he can stay because he’s a player capable of making a difference and can be the best footballer in the world in his position. This is a real opportunity for him and he can’t miss it.”
Xavi added: “I don’t think he could be in a happier place than here. Barcelona is the best club in the world, the sports project is more important that the economic factors, and I have told him that. That is why I am hopeful.
Dembele could be one to leave in January if another club wishes to get a jump on the free agent process. Other candidates to depart could be Sergiño Dest and Frenkie de Jong, two young players who could generate a solid return.
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