sport news PETE JENSON: Barcelona have become more like in taking biggest ... trends now

sport news PETE JENSON: Barcelona have become more like in taking biggest ... trends now
sport news PETE JENSON: Barcelona have become more like Real Madrid in taking biggest ... trends now

sport news PETE JENSON: Barcelona have become more like Real Madrid in taking biggest ... trends now

Joan Laporta has always been bold and brave but this summer the maverick Barca leader has gone where no club president has ever gone before. Has he taken the people with him? It really depends who you ask.

Most fans have marvelled at the way he's played hard and fast with LaLiga's financial fairplay rules and proved the mainstream sports media in the city wrong. 

They predicted a quiet summer of free-transfer chasing and penny-pinching. Almost no-one one saw the deluge of new arrivals coming.

But not everyone is a believer. Some, probably a minority, think the club's DNA has been betrayed – they have become more like Real Madrid going after big name players who will be as commercially successful as they will be useful to Xavi.

This summer, Joan Laporta has gone where no Barcelona president has ever gone before

Forcing other players out with mild smear campaigns and gentle threats had previously been something more associated with Real Madrid than the Catalans but it's what Barcelona did with Ousmane Dembele last January and they have repeated it with Frenkie de Jong.

Who will be proved right depends largely on what happens this season and in the next two weeks. If the club falls flat on its face failing to register all the new signings then Laporta will struggle to recover. 

Or if they do manage to sign up everyone up but then have a below-par season that sees them miss out financially and start lurching towards having to give up their special status as a sports club and become a public limited corporation, then his reputation will be ruined. 

He does not want to be the man who lost Messi and then lost Barca's special status.

Barca chiefs have tried to force midfielder Frenkie de Jong out of the club in recent weeks

Barca chiefs have tried to force midfielder Frenkie de Jong out of the club in recent weeks

Meanwhile, a host of glamour new signings have arrived, such as Robert Lewandowski (right)

Meanwhile, a host of glamour new signings have arrived, such as Robert Lewandowski (right)

For now, the believers are still revelling in all the summer activity. The atmosphere at the pre-season Gamper tournament where 82,000 watched Barca pummel Pumas underlined the excitement and enthusiasm. 

The atmosphere at games was already good last season just

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