Barcelona spent 125 million euros and brought in 82m, a figure we haven’t managed before. Did the club learn to sell?
There’s no need to give out medals. We just planned the work well. We evaluated how the squad was and made some movements in line with that. We wanted a balanced squad and a productive one to achieve success. The market allowed us to sell players who we didn’t need. The result was not luck but the fruits of our labour. We’re content and satisfied.
Do you think the squad is better?
I think so, yes.
Do you have to keep taking this amount of money in?
Increasingly the business of football is based on the buying and selling of players. Depending on how that’s managed we’ll have more or less sporting and economic success. To give an example, look at the young players who are more and more in a hurry and have more options to leave. This means you have to have clear planning ideas in the short, medium and long term.
One of the options was Rakitic leaving. Valverde said no. What was your posture?
We did not contemplate his exit. We knew that he had an option from a foreign club. We had no interest in him going. In Spanish football there’s a complex weapon with the release clauses. We’re the only clegaue wit clauses and the danger is there, but neither the club nor player wanted him to leave.
Yerry Mina. Cost little, played little, sold for a lot.
He arrived in the winter market coming from a different type of football. He was young and we knew he might have adaptation problems. He didn’t have the minutes to adapt to our style and we had an interesting offer for him We had no problem in moving forward.
Was his transfer a success?
From the economic point of view yes, from the sporting point of view we would have liked him to have adapted and played. That didn’t happen but at least we got some value out of it.
Is that a way of operating, sign players to make profit on?
We haven’t followed that line but it is part of football today. We look for players who can play in the team but sometimes that doesn’t happen and you have to look for an exit if there’s no space.
Do you like signing more physical players?
It’s not true. I saw it written even in your newspaper but it’s a myth. I like the Barcelona profile, players with exquisite technical quality.
Have you talked to Valverde about his contract?
I haven’t. That is what we have to do.
Do you have a plan B?
In 2016 players arrived who, apart from Umtiti, participated little. Gomes, Alcacer, Denis, Digne, Cillessen. In 2018, Vidal, Arthur, Lenglet and Malcom arrived who aren’t being used much either. Are you afraid history will be repeated?
I don’t see it like that. Barca have a great side, and what I always look for is to balance the squad to guarantee the maximum number of titles possible. In the squad you can have up to 25 players. They don’t all get the same changes to play. This great competition means some have it harder than others to get the minutes they want. That makes some disillusioned. They are circumstances that are true for every squad in the world. We work for them to adapt as quickly as possible while remembering that in such a long season there are minutes for everyone. Later comes the management of players whether they stay in the squad or not. They look for solutions themselves, we do too.
In general the situation with Vidal is very clear. Firstly, with his protests, it’s a clear demonstration that wants to play for and serve FC Barcelona, contributing to winning everything as he said when he was presented. The negative part is he doesn’t have the delicate touch that a professionals should have out of respect for his coach and his team-mates. In a club as big as Barca with the great professionals here, Vidal knows he has done wrong, that he lacked respect for his team-mates and I’m sure he will correct that.
What’s going on with Malcom?
Nothing. He’s young. We signed him because he has talent. Now he’s not getting minutes. There’s no problem with staff or anyone. He will have minutes because the season is long.
When the coach says he’s a club signing, his card is marked…
No. Ernesto is a person at the club. All the decisions are taken together. Valverde never said that in the sense you interpret it. He has the maximum respect for all the players and would never take steps to break the equilibrium in the dressing room.
So he said yes to the signing of Malcom?