Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed the club have completed two signings for the new season, with players out of contract in the summer.
Laporta replaced Josep Maria Bartomeu as Barca president just over a year ago for his second spell and has spent the past 12 months trying to navigate the club out of financial difficulties.
His first summer back saw Barcelona lose Lionel Messi, unable to re-sign the club legend after his contract ran out, and they had to negotiate new contracts with players on lower wages in order to register new signings.
But the ship appears to be steadying with Barcelona signing Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in January and they are already setting themselves up for a future, albeit with shrewd business.
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Barcelona have been linked with a number of players this summer, and Laporta has confirmed the club have secured deals with two soon-to-be free agents.
“We have closed two players who end their contracts,” he told RAC 1.
“One is a midfielder, the other one is a centre-back. But I’m not allowed to mention their names.”
Although Laporta was trying to be vague with his confirmation, many have put two and two together to “confirm” the identity of Barcelona’s newest signings.
The midfielder is believed to be AC Milan and Ivory Coast man Franck Kessie, who has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona after impressing for the Serie A league leaders. Kessie joined Milan on a two-year loan deal as a 20-year-old in 2017 with an obligation to buy – a three-year contract included on top of that.
But that contract is now up and, according to reports, he had turned down a new deal with Milan and will leave the club at the end of the season after over 200 matches.
Barcelona have also been linked with a fair few defenders this summer, including Chelsea trio Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen. As things stand, Rudiger is more likely to move back to Serie A, while it has been reported that a one-year extension in Azpilicueta’s Chelsea contract has been triggered – meaning a free transfer would not be as simple.
Regardless, Christensen appears to be the defender that Barcelona have closed on a free transfer, with the Danish centre-back’s Chelsea future having been in doubt long before their troubles. The Dane joined Chelsea’s academy as a 16-year-old and broke into the first team in 2017 after a two-year loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach, helping the Blues win the Champions League last year.