This week, reports emerged of a release-clause activating 222m Euro PSG bid for Barcelona’s Neymar – a sum that might have previously been unthinkable. The Cosh discuss the rights and wrongs of this potential hyper-deal.
Is this thing real or is Neymar just angling for an improved deal at Barcelona?
Alex: If Neymar is using this to get a better contract, I’d find it a little deplorable given how much money he already earns, but that may be what’s going on from his perspective. PSG definitely want him, though. Who wouldn’t (apart from Moyes – not British enough)?
Mohaned: Both. I think PSG are genuinely interested in signing Neymar. I don’t think its a made up rumor by his agent as a bargaining chip during contract negotiations. Whether Neymar is interested or not is a different story. I believe PSG has the money and the ambition to make this transfer happen and the problem with a release clause is that Barcelona have no say. If Neymar decides that he wants to go, for whatever reason, then its a done deal. Neymar does enjoy life at Barcelona and playing with Messi so it will be a hard decision for him.
Rishay: I said in my article a few weeks ago that some headlines would come out to spice things up as the summer moved along. The price tag is ridiculous, but it’s worth PSG testing the waters which is what I believe we are seeing so yes, this is real. Whether it actually happens depends a lot of variables.
Are there any legitimate footballing reasons for Neymar to want to move to PSG?
Rishay: Not really. He would be going to a substandard league with the exception of Monaco and maybe Nice. Wait a minute, that sounds just about as competitive as La Liga. Kidding, kidding. At least the lesser Spanish teams will dominate in continental European competitions and show their prowess. The French teams have not shown that over the years. Neymar would be the best player in the league by a fair distance and may not be challenging himself as he currently is. I think that this would not be a wise move for footballing reasons, only monetary. He’s good where he is at Barca.
Mohaned: Yes. Plenty. The chance to become the superstar of a team, like he is for Brazil. Be the main man and have the freedom to do his thing more than at Barcelona. Champions league is also a big factor. I would say PSG’s chances and Barcelona’s chances of winning the competition are quite close and with Neymar shifting to PSG it would be as close as ever. Barcelona have recently failed in the transfer market and have their weakest squad in a decade, heavily relying on the three-pronged attack. Being there isn’t as attractive as it once was, especially with Messi, Busquets, Iniesta, and Suarez all in their 30s or late 20s. Barcelona will need an overhaul soon and this might be the time to get out. Winning the Champions League with PSG would be a phenomenal achievement for Neymar and it might be worth a shot.
Alex: Agreed. PSG and Barcelona are getting closer and closer in level as was displayed in last season’s Champions League. Rishay’s point about the level of competition in the league is fair, although it’s not as if Barcelona don’t go into 95% of their domestic games expecting to win. To me the key point is being the main man. Messi will stay at Barcelona for life and that might be another 3-4 years playing the second lead for Neymar. As much as he loves playing with Messi, he may feel the need to break out of the Argentinian’s simultaneously huge and tiny shadow.
Would Barcelona be better off selling him and using the money on, for example, Verratti and Dembele or Verratti and Mbappe?
Mohaned: Barcelona lost the major competitions last season due to a weak midfield. Iniesta is aging, Busquets gets run over, and Rakitic is ok. Lets not even discuss André Gomes. A box to box in Vidal or Verratti is a must for Barcelona this season if they don’t want the talents of the front three to go to waste. The problem is, does it have to come at the expense of Neymar, a player that many believe could be the best in the world after Cristiano and Messi? Its a tough one. Mbappe or Dembele will excite but will they produce the stats to help Messi out? This all comes down to Barcelona’s options. If they can get that midfielder without selling Neymar then hold on to him for sure. If not, then it might be best to go down the two players for one route and let go of their golden boy.
Alex: I’m with Mohaned here. Barcelona need Verratti. They need to get control back of the midfield, and as brilliant as I think Neymar is, I think he’s more easily replaced than the vacuum left by Xavi, younger Iniesta and to a lesser extent, Thiago and Cesc. Losing the Brazilian would be pretty tragic, but replacing him with Verratti and one of Mbappe or Dembele would be future-proofing a squad that needs regeneration. The question is, how would letting Neymar go affect Messi and Suarez. We know the trio are close both on and off the pitch.
Rishay: Possibly, but selling Verratti would be counterproductive for PSG. If they want to stomp their authority on the European game then adding Neymar is essential. Selling Verratti at that point would undo some of the benefit of having Neymar. From Barcelona’s view, sure…having all that money could go towards a lot of things, but are they a team at the end of a cycle? Do they need to reinvest heavily just yet? I’d say no. Their squad is fine for now.
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