PSG Were Lukewarm Over Neymar Exit
Barcelona were never in a position to be able to afford Neymar this summer and Paris Saint-Germain refused to seriously entertain the prospect of a move for the Brazilian.
That’s the latest version of events regarding the transfer non-event of the summer. It follows reports earlier this week that PSG were demanding €300 million for the striker.
The BBC now claims that despite Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu telling senior players that the club would make a move for Neymar the deal had very little chance of coming off.
Bartomeu told a number of players – including Lionel Messi – following the side’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool that Barca wanted to sign Neymar and that he was confident the Brazilian would move. Messi conveyed that news to Neymar himself.
Neymar has become increasingly disgruntled at PSG over the past year. An ongoing rivalry with strike partner Edinson Cavani, the feeling that the club’s Ultras were keener on the Uruguayan than on him and the fear he wasn’t being afforded protection by French referees all led to hopes of a move.
However, Neymar feared from the start that the transfer would not take place. Matters weren’t helped when Barcelona signed Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid and had to take out a €35 million loan to help finance the €120million deal. With PSG demanding €300 million for Neymar the chances of a deal taking place were slim unless Barca could offer players as part of the deal.
But returning PSG sporting director Leonardo only muddied the waters by making dismissive comments about Neymar to the point where the Brazilian stopped talking to him.
Barca’s efforts came to nothing. Their only written offer was for €115 million in cash plus permanent moves for Jean-Clair Todibo and Ivan Rakitic and the season-long loan of Ousmane Dembele. When Dembele refused to entertain the idea of moving to Paris the deal was dead. PSG coach Thomas Tuchel spoke to Dembele on four separate occasions but the French side never really tried to force the issue by discussing terms suggesting they weren’t that keen.
Other clubs were interested. Real Madrid offered €100 million plus Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas and James Rodriguez. Bale’s £600,000-a-week salary was enough to scupper that particular deal and the feeling in Paris was that Real wanted Neymar on the cheap while getting rid of fringe players.
Juventus offered €100 million plus striker Paulo Dybala. That was also rejected by PSG.
There was no interest from any Premier League club despite Manchester United having been linked in 2016.