Wait, you thought the impending closure of the transfer window meant no more Neymar to Barcelona headlines? Have you lost it?
The latest reports from Spain on the saga say that, while both parties have now resigned themselves to the idea that Neymar will remain a PSG player for the season ahead, Barcelona have not given up on securing his return, and are now hell-bent on making the deal happen – either in January or next summer.
It has of course been the enduring story of the transfer window, with Neymar more or less making it public record that he wants out of Paris and back to the Nou Camp, and Barcelona throwing the kitchen sink – along with about ten first team players – at the French champions to make it happen.
Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, however, reports in the last few days have suggested that talks between Barca and PSG have irreparably broken down, with too little time remaining in the window to bring a deal back from the dead.
That assessment is corroborated by Catalan-based newspaper SPORT, who ran with a report on Monday titled ‘Neymar 2020.’ Unfortunately it’s less about the Brazil star running for president, and more about how Barcelona already planning to land him next year.
They say that patience is a virtue possessed in abundance by the La Liga champions as far as the transfer market goes, having successfully waited on Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho in the very recent past, and that they are prepared to do the same with Neymar.
According to the report, Barca are convinced the player only has eyes for them, and is content to knuckle down in Paris until January, while keeping his eye on the light at the end of the tunnel.
Interestingly, it also notes that if PSG refuse to sell in January, Neymar could force a summer deal through by appealing to FIFA.
By then, he will have completed three years of a deal signed when he was under 28, and which doesn’t specify a release clause. FIFA have regulations in place to protect players in such positions, and could themselves step in to determine a price for which PSG must sell – probably somewhere in the region of €180m.
It’s easy to see, then, why Barcelona are confident of eventually getting a deal done. The threat of being forced to cut their price may force them into a sale in January, and if not, then it’s difficult to see past a deal finally going through in a year’s time.