Neymar to Barcelona: Inside story of PSG striker’s summer transfer saga
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By Guillem Balague
Spanish soccer expert
After months of bluster discussion, posturing, assert and counter-claim we have - for the time - reached the road's end. Neymar will probably be staying in Paris St-Germain.
Since the dust settles it might be well worth noting that the individual least surprised by this is actually the PSG forward himself feared from day one that this was destined to fail.
The minimum requirement for the successful outcome of any sales trade - be it for even a billionaire footballer with talent or a lawn of elastic off - is a buyer or an enthusiastic seller, or rather both.
On this particular occasion, nevertheless, Barcelona felt that the French winners never wished to market and PSG believed the giants never wished to purchase.
This was the mistrust that underscored the negotiations. Even by the conspiratorial convoluted and brain-achingly complex minefield that's football transfer discussions, this was going to be a uniquely unwieldy bargain to deliver to a decision.
How do we get here?
In Aprilthe 27-year-old Brazilian - that moved from Barcelona for a world record to France #200m from August 2017 - began talks to reestablish his PSG contract.
Regrettably, there were a variety of little"issues" which makes him miserable : promises PSG weren't satisfying, boos from a number of the lovers, a spat with fellow forwards Edinson Cavani regarding who must take fines, internal divisions within the camp, a sense the Ultra lovers were keener about Cavani than him; and the feeling he wasn't being given sufficient protection by referees.
Back in January, three fouls in rapid succession by the Anthony Goncalves of Strasbourg - all of that merited a yellow cardnone of which obtained one - left Neymar with the foot injury that kept him out. He wasn't impressed.
Some gamers exist at a gilded cage in PSG, despite boasting one of the world squads, and also a lack of competition in a French Ligue 1 established a bickering, febrile air .
Neymar loves Paris - who wouldn't? - and negotiated a new contract despite flirting for a while with a return and even despite his own misgivings. But then something happened after Barcelona lost to Liverpool in the Champions League.
The captains of Barcelona - Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto along with Luis Suarez - had been advised by president Josep Maria Bartomeu not only could the club attempt to get Neymar, but in addition that he had been convinced that the player would return.
Neymar was advised by players that he communicates with often (Messi, Pique and Suarez) that the deal would occur and he had been needed in case Barcelona were to recover that the Champions League. It obtained under the Brazilian's skin, not because he was never totally convinced by his own decision.
Messi, 32suggested - given his age - Neymar could come to be the Barcelona universe's middle in a couple of years.
And so it started.
Now, senior Barcelona gamers were told the club hadn't signed Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid forward - but their La Liga rivals had openly stated they'd noticed documents confirming the deal was agreed back in March.
The issue was that everyone in Neymar's camp thought Barcelona didn't have the money - especially if, as they suspected, Griezmann had been a lot.
Barca had to take out a unsecured loan for
35m euros (#31.6m) from banks to bring in the France worldwide, so one can only imagine the fiscal ramifications the buy of Neymar would have had for the club.
Meanwhile muddied the waters in front of everyone else with dismissive remarks about the Brazilian, to the point.
Leonardo realised too late he backtracked by playing with the participant's praises and beginning the strategy of confusion and had crossed the line he's used over the previous four months.
From the beginning, Barcelona felt that the PSG officer was saying the participant while simultaneously following directions from the French club owners and something to them that Neymar should not be allowed to leave under any circumstances.
With no offer from Barcelona coming, it dawned the movement was not going to take place, so that he agreed to play and and team officials met before the first match of the season . Before the game, Leonardo asked him to issue a statement he no longer wished to leave the day. Neymar baulked telling PSG he was ready to play but wasn't about to start making announcements.
That isn't surprising. Messages seeped out of Barcelona from his requesting him to hang on in there since it was likely to happen.
In fact, Barcelona desired to show to everyone just how dedicated to performing the offer they were. The Catalan club insist the dripping of details of a trip to Paris of the decision makers (but maybe not Bartomeu) eight weeks ago was not of their doing - however it didn't damage them because it revealed them striving hard.
The bottom line was this: when Barcelona desired Neymar it was likely to cost them 215m euros (#194m). The Spanish club told PSG that gamers would need to be included.
Finally, on 27 August, Barcelona submitted the only written offer they ever made - 115m euros (#107m) in cash, 15m euros (#13.5m) in bonuses and three gamers.
PSG decided they had to be defender Jean-Clair Todibo, midfielder Ivan Rakitic (and reluctantly consented to move), also forwards Ousmane Dembele on loanalthough the latter immediately explained:"Non merci."
France Dembele was not going to proceed. At one point, intermediaries believed they may have the ability to change his thoughts, and the participant talked to PSG boss Thomas Tuchel about four occasions, however the French club never really pushed the issue using the 22-year-old or attempted to talk terms - which suggested to Barcelona that they weren't that interested in doing the offer.
Nevertheless, conversations lasted. PSG began to um and ah about the make-up of the 15m euros in add-ons - but when that was agreed, they stated they wanted 150m euros (#135m) up front instead of 130m euros and bonuses.
Neymar's response in a letter to your club wasno issue. The Brazilian was ready to cover the shortfall in five payments of euros. But a few moments later his message came, he was advised by PSG the Football Federation did not allow such payments to be made by players.
Real Madrid - who at the end said they weren't really interested - had stuck their heads over the parapet and made an offer of #100m euros Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Keylor Navas. A look at Bale's salary was enough to put an end and the Wales forwards wasn't going to move anyway. In fact, PSG consistently felt give their fans that sense of schadenfreude that comes when you buy one of your most important competitions, and also Real wanted to get Neymar on thecheap while eliminating a few of their squad.
Italian champions Juventus entered the fray, offering 100m euros and Paulo Dybala - a bid that was rejected by PSG.
No Premier League club made an approach, though Manchester United had asked about the player when he was at Barcelona using a buyout clause of 190m euros (Number 172m). Neymar decided against the move.
In the end,"Spain" was the response Neymar gave when asked where he wished to go, indicating he would not have minded visiting both of the La Liga giants. He chose to not say nowhere or Barcelona for the reason that if the agreement went wrong as indeed it eventually did - he'd end up looking ridiculous.
Did Barcelona need Neymar enough? It's well worth noting that when they had to convince Frenkie de Jong to sign in Ajax, Bartomeu seen the Netherlands midfielder to finish the deal. At no point throughout the Neymar discussions did Bartomeu fulfill his father, the participant or PSG counterpart Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Furthermore, among the first proposals from Barcelona (maybe perhaps not in written form) has been Philippe Coutinho and a cash figure, which was instantly rejected by PSG for being"laughable".
It felt just like Barca were not putting all their weight .
In lots of ways it was a win-win scenario for Bartomeu. It didn't happen, so he could now sew his shoulders and say"look, we attempted", plus those who didn't want the return of a player who has taken the club to court on two occasions are kept happy.
Had it happened, regardless of the crippling financial burden for a team estimated to become 600m euros (#543m) in debt, Barcelona thought they might have discovered a way around it. If they really wanted that to be returned by Neymar is.
As well as having to do a lot of financial technology to make it happen - including eliminating two of their biggest earners - that the wage structure at the Nou Camp would have been a headache, since Barcelona are in the very limit. No-one knew for certain whether La Liga could have warranted Neymar's signing, given the limitations of fair play regulations.
Negotiations were always going to be complicated by there without buyout clauses in France. Interestingly, though Neymar will have been for several seasons in PSG and, based on Fifa regulations, can buy himself out of his contract following a tribunal decides a commission.
That could be the next step, if things do not go for Neymar. It's not all doom and gloom that is going to resume today everything has been settled, and since he does a least like a respectful and productive connection with all PSG boss Tuchel.
How the various Barcelona players involved respond remains to be viewed.
For Struggling to facilitate the move, Can Dembele be cast as the scapegoat? About staying, how will those effectively told from the club they were no more needed feel? Can the gamers that believed Neymar would be to fortify them feel in his non-arrival? Will Barcelona return at a later date - now featuring all seriousness - to the Brazilian?
Time will tell.
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