Barcelona’s hopes of re-signing Neymar appear over
Neymar looked almost certain to rejoin Barcelona over the summer but they were unable to work out a deal with Paris Saint-Germain.
The Brazil international was seemingly desperate to return to Camp Nou and Barca were eager to get a deal over the line.
PSG stood firm on their demands and refused to entertain cash-plus-player(s) offers as they held out for a big fee. It was also suggested Barca tried their luck with a loan with an obligation to buy, but again this held no interest for the French champions.
Neymar then missed the first five games of the season and the official explanation was an ankle injury although most saw it as a move to engineer a return to Camp Nou.
The fact he made his first appearance of the season in a Brazil shirt indicates that could well have been the case.
He was booed on his first outing of the season at the Parc des Princes – despite hitting the winner against Strasbourg – and an exit either this month or next summer seemed inevitable.
The situation has changed in the intervening months and, after returning from a six-game injury absence in November, Neymar has been in sensational form.
The 27-year-old has scored in each of his last eight appearances for PSG, managing nine goals in total during that time. Now reports in France claim he is in discussions over a new deal despite claims he had rejected an offer from the club in November.
There are a few sticking points in these reported contract talks, with Neymar apparently demanding around £30million-a-season to stay in France and hoping for reassurances regarding PSG’s ability to compete in Europe before he puts pen to paper.
The Parisians have never managed to progress beyond the last 16 of the Champions League during Neymar’s time in France and any deal seemingly depends on whether or not they can improve on that this season.
PSG are set to face Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 next month, with the first leg in Germany on February 18.
Neymar will not sign any deal until April but, if he does agree fresh terms in Paris, it would have to all but end any chance of a move back to Barcelona.
PSG are already in a fairly strong bargaining position as Neymar’s current deal runs until 2022. If he were to ink a long-term extension on improved terms, it could well price Barcelona out of a deal for the foreseeable future – if not permanently.