The circumstances may have changed beyond the control of all parties concerned, but still, according to reports, Neymar has not given up hope of returning to FC Barcelona from Paris Saint Germain.
At the turn of 2020, transfer buzz intensified and it seemed that the Catalans were well on course to land both of their Brazilian and Argentine top targets in Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez and Neymar.
The youngster available by activating his release clause of $125mn, it was claimed that Neymar could be relieved of his duties in the French capital by offering a flat-out fee of $167mn or utilizing the unique Webster Ruling for $200mn.
A lot has changed, however, with the three-month hiatus imposed on elite soccer forcing a major rethink of club policy and plans. Martinez’s clause has expired, meaning a separate deal has to be negotiated for Lionel Messi’s international teammate, and president Josep Bartomeu has all but ruled out an approach for Neymar in recent interviews on local radio.
Still hope springs eternal, with Jordi Battle of Mundo Deportivo explaining on Tuesday morning that the former Santos prodigy continues to dream of donning Blaugrana once more.
His contract expiring in 2022, renewal talks have, like those of Messi, hit a brick wall. Yet he remains in “constant contact” with his friends in the Barça locker room, who would “welcome him [back] with open arms”, Battle writes.
Averting an embarrassing loss, PSG could put Neymar on the market next summer for a sum far below market price in order to prevent losing him on a free the following year.
Making sure that even less money changes hands, players that may entice the Ligue 1 giants in their desire to “Frenchify” their ranks, such as Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and even Antoine Griezmann, may be offered as makeweights.
On Sunday, Thomas Tuchel’s men led by Neymar made their long-awaited return to action in a 9-0 win over minnows Le Harve that was attended by 5,000 fans.
The 29-year-old bagging two in the encounter, there were also braces for Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia.
The Ligue 1 season chalked off prematurely while PSG were handed the title, the Qatari-backed behemoths still have domestic fixtures to contest such as the French Cup and League Cup finals in addition to a Champions League quarter-final showdown with Atalanta.