Rafael Yuste says talk of Barcelona making big-money moves for Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland is “irresponsible”, given the club’s debt, with the Liga giants urged to focus more attention on retaining the services of “best in the world” Lionel Messi.
Speculation is rife at Camp Nou when it comes to possible transfer targets, with the days being counted down to the election of a new club president on March 7.
Bold promises are being made by leading contenders for that role, with it suggested that a talismanic captain could be retained as raids are launched on the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund for more marquee additions.
What has been said?
Yuste, who worked as sports vice-president during Joan Laporta’s previous reign as president and is looking to reclaim that role in 2021, has told Mundo Deportivo: “Today, with a debt of 1,173 million, it would be irresponsible to say that we are going to sign Haaland or Mbappe.
“In addition, we have a squad that can give a lot of joy to the members and a brave coach who bets on young people.
“As we turn around the situation and generate resources, there will be a choice, but now let's support what we have and see how far we can go.
“Right now we already have the best in the world called Leo Messi.”
Will Messi be staying at Barcelona?
As things stand, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner is due to see his contract expire in the summer.
No fresh terms have been thrashed out as yet, with the 33-year-old Argentine waiting until the end of the season before making a decision over his future.
However, Laporta is among those to have stated belief that Messi can be talked into penning a new deal, with Yuste sharing that opinion.
He said on the future of an all-time great: “Leo is a winner and wants to raise the Champions League trophy again, and of course he needs a winning project, but he also needs to believe again in the person who is president, such as Laporta, and we also have a lot of affection for the family.
“I know that Leo is very comfortable in Barcelona with his family. It is very difficult for me to see Leo with a shirt that is not Barca's and that he does not retire here.”
The bigger picture
Messi’s contract and possible new additions will be two of the more pressing issues for any incoming president to address at Barcelona.
There are, however, a number of fires to be fought on and off the field in Catalunya, with inconsistent performances under Ronald Koeman playing out against a backdrop of uncertainty in the boardroom that has led to former figurehead Josep Maria Bartomeu being arrested as part of the ongoing ‘Barcagate’ investigation.