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Barcelona in a worse financial position than expected - Joan Laporta

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Joan Laporta has said Barcelona are in an even worse position than he imagined when he was elected as president in March.

Laporta, who was previously the Barca president between 2003 and 2010, is having an audit carried out on the club's accounts and has been surprised by some of the findings.

Barca's gross debt is close to €1.2 billion, with the club urgently needing to reduce the wage bill, with a €100m bank loan needed in May to help pay salaries to the playing squad.

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There are also anomalies related to the "Barcagate" scandal, with payments made by the previous board to third-party companies who are part of a police investigation.

"The club's in a worse state than I expected -- and I knew I was coming into a difficult situation," Laporta told La Vanguardia.

"There are contracts which condition how much we can do. There are things that must be explained [by the previous board] and I don't rule out taking some sort of action. We will explain everything because if not, we will be complicit.

"We've encountered a squad with old-fashioned contracts and we will have to work out what to do. The existing contracts can be changed or restructured. After that, there are more drastic measures that we hope we don't have to adopt.

"But nothing's ruled out if it's for the good of the club. Between salaries and amortisations, it's about €650m [annually], which is more than the club's revenue. These salaries are out-of-step with the current market."

To help reduce the wage bill, sources have told ESPN that Barcelona are open to offers for several players, including Neto, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Philippe Coutinho and Martin Braithwaite.

Despite having to reduce costs, Barca remain optimistic they can convince Lionel Messi, whose four-year contract is worth over €500m, to sign an extension to his terms at Camp Nou.

Messi's deal expires on June 30 and Laporta urged him to make a decision on his future to help Barca plan for the future.

"I'd like Messi to say 'yes' as soon as possible, it would help us in every sense," Laporta added.

"We're in communication. He's excited and I am grateful for the effort he's putting in to stay. [New signing Sergio] Aguero's helping. He's telling him to stay every day while with Argentina!"

In addition to the financial side of the deal, Laporta has always maintained the most important thing for Messi is to have a team around him capable of competing for the Champions League.

Barca have already signed Aguero, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay on free transfers to strengthen coach Ronald Koeman's side, with right-back Emerson Royal also recalled from Real Betis.

"There will be three or four more signings," Laporta said, speaking before Depay was officially announced by the club. "We're building a really competitive team."