Sports

Barcelona ‘unlikely’ to sign Neymar

Barcelona ‘unlikely’ to sign Neymar
Neymar
Madrid, Jul 7 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/7/2020 9:48:24 AM IST

Neymar’s proposed return to Barcelona has essentially been ruled out by club president Josep Bartomeu, who says the transfer market will be negatively impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Barca lured Neymar to Camp Nou from Santos in 2013 and he went on to help the club win eight major trophies, including two La Liga titles and the Champions League.

The 28-year-old scored 105 goals in 186 appearances for the Blaugrana in total, while forming a deadly attacking trinity alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

However, Neymar decided to leave Catalonia in the summer of 2017, with it suggested he was looking to emerge from Lionel Messi’s shadow and stake a claim for the Ballon d’Or award.

The Brazil international became the world’s most expensive player when he swapped Barca for PSG in a €222 million (£201m/$250m) deal, but has since struggled to live up to that hefty price tag.

Injuries and off-field issues have overshadowed Neymar’s time in the French capital, and he admitted last year that he would like to go back to Camp Nou to rediscover his love for the game.

Barca failed to re-sign their former talisman in 2019 but continue to be linked with the PSG forward ahead of the summer transfer window, with Quique Setien’s current squad lacking a spark in the final third of the pitch.

When asked if Neymar will be targeted when the market reopens, Bartomeu attempted to dismiss the ongoing speculation by insisting that the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to prevent any big-money deals from taking place.

The 57-year-old said, “Such an operation is unlikely because the situation of all the clubs in Europe is very difficult.”

Bartomeu went on to address the criticism Barca have faced for selling Arthur Melo to Juventus in exchange for Miralem Pjanic, insisting the Bosnian midfielder had long been on the club’s radar.

He said, “Pjanic is a player who has wanted to sign for us for a long time. He was highly sought after and there was a Barca player who wanted Juve. But it is an exceptional situation.” 

“It is not to balance finances because we would have sold other players for whom we had offers. Arthur is a player who is highly valued.”

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