Joan Laporta confirms 2 Barcelona stars will not leave the club in January

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has dismissed claims about winter departures of Franck Kessie and Hector Bellerin. He has insisted that the pair are in Xavi Hernandez’s plans for the ongoing 2022-23 season.

Kessie, 26, has failed to cement a first-team place at Camp Nou since arriving on a free transfer from AC Milan earlier this summer. With Gavi and Pedri preferred as regular starters, he has started just five games across all competitions this season, scoring once in the process.

Bellerin, too, has struggled to get minutes under his belt since arriving on a free transfer from Arsenal on the deadline day of the summer transfer window. Due to fitness issues, the 27-year-old has started just thrice for the Catalan giants this campaign.

Speaking to BarcaTV, Laporta shared his thoughts on Barcelona’s summer arrivals ahead of their return to action. He said:

“Lewandowski is one of the architects of the return of joy to Barça. He brings you professionalism and a sense of responsibility, as well as being an experienced player, and he also has that charm and glamour that makes the fans happy. Kounde reached the World Cup final, Christensen had a good World Cup.”

Laporta asserted that Kessie and Bellerin are set to assume more importance in Xavi’s squad later this season. He said:

“Kessie, we are convinced that in the second part of the season, he will be more important. There is Raphinha. Also Bellerin, who has recovered from injury. I hope he’s getting better and better. The right-back position is a challenge to consolidate. Luckily, we have Sergi Roberto and Bellerin. We also have Marcos [Alonso].”

Barcelona are currently atop the 2022-23 La Liga table with 37 points from 14 games. They are scheduled to resume their domestic campaign with a home encounter against Espanyol on Saturday (December 31).

Newcastle United lodge surprise bid for out-of-favor Barcelona forward: Reports

According to reputed journalist Roger Torello, Newcastle United have submitted a €20 million bid for Barcelona ace Memphis Depay.

Depay, who is in the final year of his contract, has been on the transfer list since the summer. This is despite the fact that the Dutchman was the Catalan side’s La Liga top-scorer last campaign with 12 goals. The 28-year-old has scored just once this season, featuring in three games across all competitions.

A versatile forward blessed with flair and shooting, Depay represented the Netherlands at the recently concluded 2022 FIFA World Cup. He scored one goal in five matches, operating in a two-man offensive setup.

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