The rumors persist and instead of being immediately dashed, are supported. There is a now culpable sense that Neymar, Barcelona’s former star winger could be set for a return to the Blaugranes. If that were to happen, there are many intricacies that must be first rooted out. Let’s take a look at everything that would need to happen.
First and foremost, the funding for such a move would have to be found by selling members of the current squad. The first name that comes to mind (and a name that also has many rumors surrounding him) is Ousmane Demeble. The young French man has been brilliant on the pitch, look no further than his equalizing goal against Atletico in Barcelona’s recent 1-1 draw – but what has been concerning about Dembele has been his attitude off the pitch. Reports have surfaced of Dembele going missing for hours at a time, missing training, and even having some senior Blaugranes questioning his professionalism during games and training. It seems as though Dembele has the quality, but not the maturity just yet. If Barcelona were to buy Neymar back, Dembele would certainly be deemed surplus to requirements not only for tactical reasons, but for budgetary reasons as well.
While Dembele is not the utmost professional yet, Neymar should not be given awards for his professionalism either. Just two years ago, the Brazilian all but forced his way out of the Blaugrana outfit in order to pursue his dreams of becoming the #1 player in the world. In spite of that dream, it seems that the Brazilian has noticed the lack of quality in the French league and some squabbles with his striking partner Edinson Cavani have put him in the position of not being able to realize his dreams. That summer though, Neymar’s antics in attempting to force a move out led to a bitter dispute with the board. While feelings seem to have softened, there still is a lingering sense of distrust, in order to even consider buying back Neymar, these concerns must be addressed and solved.
Lastly, the manager and the squad have to make a decision. After having Neymar give them the cold shoulder, they need to know whether or not the Brazilian returning would be good for the squad. Lest we forget, since Neymar’s departure, Barcelona’s form hasn’t necessarily dipped, they won the double without him last season. In this campaign they were the first team to qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds and are second in La Liga, the squad certainly has the mentality necessary to compete for trophies.
Ultimately though, it comes down to a simple question – Dembele or Neymar? Both have character issues, but the capital necessary to keep both in the squad is surely unlikely. In order to have one, Barcelona cannot have the other. For this case, I argue that Barcelona keep the young Frenchmen and leave the Neymar business. For all his class, Neymar has shown to be a footballer whose antics on the pitch sometimes don’t make up for his behavior off it. While Dembele has certainly had some of the same issues, under the guidance of this experienced Barcelona team, I think in due time the Frenchman will turn his behavior around. Still relatively young, Dembele has plenty of time to prove his doubters wrong and show not only his class on the pitch, but the maturity off it. Neymar on the other hand, forced a move out of Barcelona and now must deal with the consequences of that decision. Visca Barca!