We’ve been here before haven’t we? Rumors Neymar wants out and a big-spending team apparently circling? Of course we have, but it looks like we’re going to have to sit through another summer of it, with Paris Saint-Germain this summer’s suitors.
Silly season or not?
How did it come to this? Well, the first report came from a Sport ‘exclusive’, no less, claiming the Brazilian is “uncomfortable” at Barca and has been told he needs to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow if he wants to win the Ballon d’Or.
The narrative was quickly picked up by AS, who went a step further, reporting Neymar’s father will fly to Paris this week to talk with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi about a move.
They also claim that Barca’s desire to land Marco Verratti could come into play stating that financially at least: “a deal involving Neymar moving to Paris and Verratti to Barcelona would be extremely beneficial for the Blaugrana.”
But it didn’t end there, Gianluca Di Marzio then jumped aboard, claiming PSG are now ready to pay Neymar’s release clause. And it case you didn’t know it stands at a cool €222m – which is easily double the current world-record transfer fee of €105m that Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer. Simply put, it is a ridiculous amount of money.
What they said
Coincidentally Barcelona held a press conference today in which very little happened but Robert Fernandez was asked about Neymar
"A Barcelona without Neymar? It will not happen because a club will not pay his release fee,” he said via Sport.
He also insisted the club had not received offers for any of their players, let alone the Brazilian: “there are no offers for any players in the squad.”
And what of Neymar? Well he was asked about his future only last week, at his Five event, and was in fairly jovial mood in all honesty
"Who knows what will happen tomorrow?" he said. "I'm very happy for now, very well adjusted. But anything can happen, who knows."
When asked if that meant he could join Manchester United, he replied: "Yes... or Eibar!"
Not, perhaps, the words of a man who is seriously concerned about his future and deliberating leaving the club he joined back in 2013.
Meanwhile, club spokesman Josep Vives, who was speaking after the club’s financial results were revealed on Monday, also sought to reassure fans.
“The only thing we care is he keeps being happy here,” he said. “He played a magnificent season and he is still one of the best in the world.
“He is happy at the club and the club is happy with him. He verbalises it and he shows it with his attitude. We are relaxed about that and we only hope next season is better than the last one.
“Neymar’s departure is not in the club’s imagination; the club just thinks of keeping the best players like him, one of our main symbols.”
So what happens next?
So what is going on? Is Neymar’s dad on his way to Paris? Well, who knows, what we do know is that Neymar is in Barcelona’s squad for their pre-season tour and will be heading to the US on Wednesday for games against Juventus, Real Madrid and Manchester United.
We can’t say if there is any truth in the rumors, but we can say we have heard this all before, last summer, the summer before and yet Neymar is still at Barcelona.
Barca’s interest in Verratti and the arrival of Dani Alves at Parc des Princes, will undoubtedly add fuel to the speculation, but there is no suggestion right now that Neymar wants out.