Barcelona won't sell players to fund Camp Nou redevelopment - Bartomeu

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has defended the club's plans to spend €600 million redeveloping the Camp Nou, saying the investment will not risk damaging the team's performances on the pitch.

Barca have released further details about the modern expansion of the stadium to seat 105,000 spectators, with work currently scheduled to be completed during the 2020-21 season.

The Catalan club are moving forward with the project at a time when, despite gross earnings topping €650m this season, their debt is currently over €300m.

Club statutes mean that this restricts the board's ability to spend, so contract extensions for stars such as Neymar and Sergio Busquets have been put on hold, while there was no money to strengthen the squad in January, even when coach Luis Enrique had publicly suggested he wanted reinforcements.

Barca's plan for funding the cost of the stadium redevelopment, approved by a members' referendum in April 2014, includes the sale of naming rights for around €200m.

It had been widely assumed that the club's close links with Qatar would help, but a cooling of that relationship means that the current shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways is in doubt.

Most recently, there has been speculation that Barca might be open to selling Neymar this summer should a potential suitor such as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester United meet his €190m release clause, although Barca director Jordi Mestre has dismissed that idea.

Speaking as images of the new stadium were made public, Bartomeu told reporters there were challenges involved in the new project, while saying the board would never have to sell a player to fund it.

"It will be the best stadium in the world," Bartomeu said. "A club like ours must have the best stadium. We need to have a lot of faith. We have to bring down the debt and find the best proposals for the naming rights, as was agreed at the referendum, in order to press on with the Espai Barca [project], without ever putting our sporting viability at risk or selling a single one of our assets.

"We want to share this collective dream with you, one that we want to bring true in the 2021-22 season. This is a dream that is also a great challenge, and one that we shall face with responsibility, rigour, hope and lots of pride."

There have been calls from some Barca fans for the redeveloped stadium to bear the name of late Blaugrana legend Johan Cruyff, as a mark of respect for the Dutchman who had such influence at the club as both a player and coach.

Bartomeu said that Cruyff would be honoured, but not by having the stadium renamed in his honour.

"[The stadium] will have a space dedicated to Johan Cruyff, like other important Barca players who deserve it," he said. "The club would not be where it is today without [Cruyff]. But we do not yet know where it will be, we still have time to think about that."