Barcelona are reportedly close to sealing an £89 million deal for Neymar that will also see three first-team superstars heading to PSG.
According to a report by The Sun, who have cited Globo Esporte as the original source, Neymar is on the verge of returning to Barcelona in the summer transfer window. The unique deal will be worth £89 million plus the Blaugrana’s three first-team players – Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele.
Neymar spent four glorious years at Barcelona, where he won the lot, before sending shockwaves across Europe and changing the transfer market forever when he joined PSG in the summer of 2017 in a world record deal. Two years later, however, the move has not exactly panned out as planned for the player or the club.
While a return of 51 goals and 29 assists in 58 appearances is quite remarkable to say the least, the fact that he has missed a major chunk of his stint with Les Parisiens has made it an odd situation for PSG, who have evidently suffered in his absence in the one competition that remains a dream for them – the UEFA Champions League.
Things seem to have taken a turn for the worse for Neymar following veiled comments by Nasser Al-Khelaifi in an interview with France Football hitting out at the player over his behaviour. These comments have reportedly pushed Neymar to the brink of an exit from PSG, with a Barcelona return possibly looming.
Barcelona do need to bolster their attack, having been unable to fill Neymar’s void over the last two seasons. Ousmane Dembele was signed to be the Brazilian’s long-term replacement at Camp Nou, but the fact that he has been injury-prone means his situation at Barcelona somewhat mirrors that of Neymar’s at PSG.
With Philippe Coutinho being horrifically out of form, the need to sign a top-class attacker is rightly imperative for Barcelona. For a long time, that solution has appeared to be Antoine Griezmann, with Atletico Madrid CEO Gil Marin claiming that the Frenchman is set to join the Catalans this summer.
But, it now looks like Barcelona are set to re-sign Neymar, although the terms of the deal appear to be rather suspect. The Sun, who have cited Globo Esporte, report that while the Blaugrana will be paying £89 million to sign the 27-year-old, they will also be sending three first-team superstars the other way to PSG.
These players are namely Samuel Umtiti, Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic. While a deal involving Dembele makes sense as that would be an ideal scenario for both parties involved, the fact that Umtiti and Rakitic are also named to be a part of the deal is what adds to the suspect element.
Rakitic has previously been linked with PSG and could on his way out of Barcelona upon the arrival of Frenkie de Jong. But, with the French champions heavily linked with a move for Matthijs de Ligt, the fact that they also want Umtiti to make his way to Parc des Princes as part of the Neymar deal ought to make one skeptical.
In the end though, if all these claims turn out to be true, it remains to be seen what Barcelona’s stance is towards the terms of the deal. And if Neymar, who is believed to be ready to return to Barcelona over other suitors like Real Madrid, ends up rejoining Barcelona, it will be interesting to see if it leaves Griezmann in a limbo.