The rumours are rife and this time, they aren’t just clickbait content. With his ‘pursuit of new challenges’ plan having blown up in smoke, Neymar is apparently unhappy at Paris and wants a move back to the club that launched his European career and the resulting stardom that followed.
Neymar moved for a world record transfer fee of 222 million in 2017 when PSG paid his release clause and it is believed that PSG will be looking for a similar price this time as well in order to facilitate his exit. Names of Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele are also being thrown around to support the deal financially and it would be the headline of the summer if Barcelona got Neymar back.
But do they really him? Here are a few reasons why Barcelona should not fall into the misguided pursuit of Neymar.
- The way Neymar left
In 2017, Neymar dragged the uncertainties about his stay for more than a month before announcing that he was moving to Paris thus crippling Barca’s summer transfer window plans. It was a sincere lack of respect for the club he played for 5 years and had many fans and directors disgusted by the end. He even sued the club for 25 million over the dispute of the payment of a loyalty bonus and threatened to go to UEFA to have them suspended.
- Problems on the pitch
Neymar is without a doubt one of the most talented players in the world and a massive game-changer. However, with that being said, it must be stressed that by his final season in Barcelona, he started holding on to the ball much more than needed and his attempts at individual protagonism often crippled Barcelona’s left wing and natural team movements.
For the last two seasons, Neymar has suffered injuries that have kept him out of the PSG squad during the all-important final stretches of the season. Neymar has spent more days out injured and in the treatment room than Ousmane Dembele who has faced a lot of criticism for his poor fitness record at the club so far.
- Ousmane Dembele
Neymar’s arrival along with Griezmann whose services have been secured will definitely push Ousmane Dembele out of starting spot contention. Dembele’s career at Barcelona may have been riddled with injuries and controversies so far, but Ousmane is a player with a magnificent potential and future and Barcelona would be stupid to let go of their prized possession at this point.
- Neymar’s age
Neymar is 28 right now and considering the fact that Messi has another few seasons to offer at the top level at Barcelona, it does not make any sense to invest a fortune on Neymar who would be over 30 by the time Messi retires. And then there’s the very distinct track record of Brazilian superstars losing their head by that point and declining in their careers.
- This will derail Barcelona’s more pressing needs
Barcelona need a backup left-back to compete with Jordi Alba and the likes of Sergi Roberto and Nelson Semedo aren’t good enough to play right-back for Barcelona. They should consolidate both those positions first but it is doubtful whether they’d have the money left after both the Griezmann and Neymar deals to work on their more important needs.
- The financial complications
Barcelona have already purchased Frenkie de Jong for 75 million and will be securing Griezmann for another 120 million. Adding Neymar’s market value, another 300 million to that and Barcelona need to offload a lot of players and need a complete squad overhaul to get even. And on top of that, they already have the highest wage bill in the world and adding to that Griezmann and Neymar, two of the highest paid superstars in the world will completely paralyse their logistics as a club unless they make some serious changes.