The rumors of a possible return of Neymar Jr. to Barcelona refuse to die and are a consistent part of the discourse surrounding the Catalans ever since he departed the club six years ago under extremely chaotic circumstances.
It always felt like nothing more than clickbait, with several outlets of questionable reputation just looking for people to read their newest Neymar story. But this time, it really is starting to feel different.
It all began with the arrival of Luis Enrique at Paris Saint-Germain, someone who worked with Neymar for three years and had a relationship that can be best described as nothing but professional. They had a few rocky periods and were never truly on the same page, and it didn’t seem like either side was that excited about a reunion.
Then Lionel Messi left, and Kylian Mbappé is on his way out the door — either this or next summer. A revolution is underway in Paris and Neymar is one of the biggest symbols of an era PSG want to forget, where players became bigger than the club and European glory became a distant dream despite all the free spending.
Now, for the first time, there are very reputable journalists reporting that Neymar’s exit is a matter of time, with Fabrizio Romano reporting in the last couple of days that both the club and the player are looking for a solution as soon as possible — even if it means a contract termination that costs PSG money and makes Neymar a free agent.
Then Friday comes with a report from another excellent source, Matteo Moretto of Relevo, who says Luis Enrique has given his green light for Neymar’s exit and a return of the Brazilian to Barça is “no longer impossible”.
Other reports from Catalan media this week say Joan Laporta and other decision makers see Neymar as a very important marketing opportunity, with his return not only capable of improving the team’s product on the pitch but helping the club bring in significant income off it.
Manager Xavi Hernández remains very hesitant to bring Neymar back and possibly disrupt the excellent atmosphere in the dressing room, but Mundo Deportivo’s most recent reports claim the coach is starting to warm up to the idea.
And Brazilian journalist Marcelo Bechler, who rarely misses when it comes to his reporting on Neymar, says Barça are waiting for his PSG release to become official and are ready to offer Neymar a one-year contract with a low salary and the potential of a longer, richer deal once the financial situation begins to improve in the next 12-18 months.
With three weeks left in the transfer window, it is becoming harder and harder to treat this as just a clickbait rumor. Neymar wants to come back, key figures at the club want him back, and the coach is starting to change his mind on the matter.
This might really happen...