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 talk, posturing, claim and counter-claim we now have - for the time being - reached the road's end. Neymar will stay at Paris St-Germain.
As the dust settles it might be well worth noting that the individual surprised by this can be himself who, even though pushing to get a move for months, feared by day one that this was a bargain always destined to fail.
The minimal requirement for the outcome of any revenue transaction - be it to get a lawn of elastic or a billionaire footballer with talent to burn - is a buyer or an enthusiastic seller, or preferably both.
On this particular occasion Barcelona believed PSG thought the Spanish giants never ever wished to purchase and that the French winners never wanted to market.
This is the mistrust that underscored the discussions. Even by the conspiratorial convoluted and brain-achingly complex minefield that is soccer transfer discussions, it was going to be a unwieldy deal.
Therefore, how do we get here?
In April, the 27-year-old Brazilian - that proceeded from Barcelona to get a world record to France #200m at August 2017 - started discussions to renew his PSG contract.
Regrettably, there were quite a variety of small"issues" making him miserable : promises PSG were not fulfilling, boos from a number of the fans, a spat with fellow forwards Edinson Cavani regarding who must take penalties, internal divisions inside the camp, even a sense the Ultra buffs were keener on Cavani than himand the atmosphere he was not being given sufficient protection by referees.
In January, three fouls in quick succession by Strasbourg's Anthony Goncalves - each one of that communicates - left Neymar together with the foot injury that kept him out to 18 games. He wasn't impressed.
A few players exist in a gilded cage at PSG, despite boasting one of the world's most powerful squads, and too little competition in a weak French Ligue 1 established a febrile air inside the camp.
Neymar enjoys Paris - who would not? - and was negotiating a new contract despite flirting for a while with a return to the Nou Camp and even despite his own misgivings. But then something happened after Barcelona lost to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals at May.
The captains of both Barcelona - Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto along with Luis Suarez - had been advised by president Josep Maria Bartomeu not only would the club try to get Neymar, but in addition that he had been convinced that the player would return.
Neymar was advised by players he communicates with often (Messi, Pique and Suarez) that the deal would occur and that he was wanted when Barcelona were to regain that the Champions League. It got below the Brazilian's own skin, not least because he was not convinced by his own decision.
32, messi proposed - awarded his own age - Neymar could develop into the centre of the Barcelona world in a few years.
So it started.
At this point, senior Barcelona gamers have been informed the club had not signed forward Antoine Griezmann out of Atletico Madrid - but the La Liga rivals had stated they had noticed records confirming the bargain was agreed back in March.
The issue was that everybody in the camp of Neymar thought Barcelona didn't have the money - when, as
they guessed, Griezmann had been a done deal.
Barca needed to take out a unsecured loan for 35m euros (Number 31.6m) from banks to bring in the France worldwide, so one can only envision the financial ramifications the purchase of Neymar would have needed for your club.
Meanwhile muddied the waters with dismissive remarks about the Brazilian to the point, facing everyone else.
Leonardo realised too late he had grabbed the line and backtracked by starting confusion's strategy and singing the participant's praises he has used over the past four weeks.
From the beginning, Barcelona felt the PSG official said the player whilst simultaneously following directions from the club owners and one thing to them that Neymar should not be allowed to leave under any conditions.
On Neymar, it dawned with no offer in Barcelona forthcoming that the move was not likely to take place, so he consented to play and and club officials fulfilled with a few days before the first game of the season . Before the game, Leonardo requested him to issue an announcement that he no longer wished to leave the day. Neymar baulked telling PSG although he was prepared to play but wasn't about to start making public statements.
That is not surprising. Messages were seeping from Barcelona from his former team-mates requesting him to hang in there because it was going to happen.
In fact, Barcelona desired to show just how dedicated to doing the offer, they were. The Catalan club insist the dripping of details of a visit to Paris of the decision makers (but not Bartomeu) eight days back was not of the doing - but it did not hurt them because it showed them trying hard.
The main point was this: if Barcelona wanted Neymar it was going to cost them 215m euros (#194m). The Spanish club told PSG that gamers would need to be included.
Eventually, on 27 August, Barcelona filed the only written deal they made - 115m euros (#107m) in money, 15m euros (#13.5m) in bonuses and three gamers.
PSG decided they needed to be defender Jean-Clair Todibo, midfielder Ivan Rakitic (and both reluctantly agreed to move), plus forwards Ousmane Dembele on loanalthough the latter swiftly explained:"Non merci."
France Dembele was never going to proceed. At one stage, intermediaries thought they may be able to change his thoughts, and the player spoke to PSG boss Thomas Tuchel about four occasions, but the French club never really pushed the issue using the 22-year-old or tried to discuss terms - which suggested to Barcelona they weren't that enthusiastic about doing the offer.
Nevertheless, conversations lasted. PSG began to um and ah about the make-up of their 15m euros at add-ons - but when that was agreed, they stated they desired 150m euros (#135m) up front rather than 130m euros and bonuses.
The response in a letter to this club of neymar wasno problem. The Brazilian has been ready to pay the shortfall in five obligations of euros. A few minutes later his message came, PSG told him that the Football Federation did not let payments to be made by players.
Real Madrid - that in the end said that they weren't really that interested - had stuck on their heads over the parapet and produced a supply of 100m euros James Rodriguez Gareth Bale and Keylor Navas. A look at the salary of Bale was enough to put an end to that idea, and the Wales forward wasn't likely to proceed. In fact, PSG felt Real wished to get Neymar on the when getting rid ofa few of their own squad, and give their lovers when you buy one of your main rivals who feeling of schadenfreude that comes.
Italian champions Juventus also 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 participant when he was at Barcelona with a buyout plan of 190m euros (#172m). Neymar decided against the transfer.
In the long run,"Spain" was the response Neymar gave when asked where he wished to proceed, indicating he wouldn't have minded visiting either of those La Liga giants. He chose not to say nowhere or Barcelona , for the reason that if the deal went wrong - as indeed it eventually did - he would wind up looking ridiculous.
Did Barcelona need Neymar enough? It is worth noting that when they needed to convince Frenkie de Jong to sign in Ajax, Bartomeu visited the Netherlands midfielder to complete the deal. At no stage during the Neymar negotiations did Bartomeu meet PSG counterpart Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the participant or his dad. Additionally, one of the initial proposals from Barcelona (maybe not in written form) has been Philippe Coutinho plus a money figurethat was immediately rejected by PSG to be"ridiculous".
It felt just like Barca not put their weight all .
In a lot of ways it was a win-win situation for Bartomeu. It didn't happen, so that he can now shrug his shoulders and say"look, we tried", plus those who did not need the return of a player who has taken the club to court on two events have been kept happy.
Had it happened, regardless of the crippling financial burden for a team already estimated to become 600m euros (#543m) in debt, Barcelona believed they may have discovered a means around it. If they actually needed Neymar to reunite that is.
In addition to needing to do a lot of engineering to allow it to happen - including eliminating two of the main earners - that the wage structure at the Nou Camp would have been a headache, since Barcelona are at the limit. No-one knew for certain whether La Liga could have warranted the signing, given the limits of financial play regulations of Neymar.
Negotiations were likely to be more complicated by there without buyout exemptions in France. Interestingly, however Neymar will have been for 3 seasons in PSG and, according to Fifa regulations, could buy himself following there is a charge decided by a tribunal.
This could well be another step if things do not go for Neymar. It's not all doom and gloom since he does a least like a respectful and productive relationship with all PSG boss Tuchel, and that will resume now everything was settled.
How the Barcelona players involved today react remains to be seen.
For needing to ease the movement, will Dembele be cast? Can those effectively advised by the club feel about staying? Would the gamers that thought Neymar would be to fortify them feel in his non-arrival? Will Barcelona reunite to your Brazilian - at a later date - now featuring all seriousness?
Time will tell.
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