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BARCELONA

Bartomeu's big decision over Neymar

The president and sporting vice-president of Barcelona, Bartomeu, has to weigh up the pros and cons of a move for the Brazilian and he needs to do it soon.

Bartomeu's big decision over Neymar
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT AFP

Josep Maria Bartomeu, the president of Barcelona, must decide soon and explain his decision to the sporting vice-president, also Josep Maria Bartomeu, whether or not the club are going to sign Neymar. He is in a difficult position with the team's star, Leo Messi, asking to make exceptions to bring the Brazilian back but it's a complicated deal to negotiate with PSG.

For Bartomeu, the president, the arrival of Neymar will have pros and cons. Amongst the first, the global impact and scale of the signing, which would reunite the trio of Neymar, Messi and Suárez once again; a devastating combination. His return would also send a message that Barcelona is a club that nobody ever wants to leave, and if you do, then you have to return. 

But it also has its cons. It would be to welcome back a player who turned his back on the club in 2017 when PSG paid his release clause and the player who brought them to court over a loyalty bonus he deserved. It would also open the door again to a player who put Barcelona in a messy situation in 2013 when he arrived which forced them to plead guilty to a financial crime that left a stain on the club's honour. That is not to mention the financial dimension of a potential deal at a time when the club don't have money to be throwing around and have to act responsibly.

The pros and cons from a footballing standpoint

As the sporting vice-president, the return of Neymar also has its pros and cons. His talent is out of question. The statistics he has put up in the last two years are much greater than both Dembélé and Coutinho put together. His connection with Messi and Suárez is excellent and he will arrived in a heightened state of motivation. However, his arrival will also most likely mean waving goodbye to Dembélé, who would become the fifth option for Valverde. 

It would also mean waving goodbye to a player that cost €140 million and one who Bartomeu said is better than Neymar. There is division over Neymar and Dembéle at the club. Some say he is ready to break out in his third year he has the perfect conditions to improve and succeed. 

The other section are critical due to his inconsistency, his poor decision-making and his inability to read games, which is before his injuries are mentioned that seemingly can't be fixed.

L'Equipe stated on Sunday that Neymar will not player for the remainder of the preseason and won't play in the French Super Cup. The player is in Shenzhen training while PSG play Suzhou. He remains hopeful, however, that he can get his move back to Barcelona although that is starting to look bleak. 

The door is open for a Neymar return but it's not easy

Despite the fact that Leonardo and Thomas Tuchel have opened the door to an exit, the owners are not thinking the same. And even less so if it's Barcelona doing the bidding for their player. PSG want to get the same amount of money they paid for him two years ago and they want it in cash, which is something impossible for Barcelona given their financial situation, or with players as an alternative. It seems Dembélé is the one they want and with Ligue 1 starting on August 11, this could be the time limit on a move.

Barcelona have dropped hints that they are interested in Neymar. First, the vice-president of the social aspect of the club, Jordi Cardoner, who said he knows Neymar's intention is to return to the club. After that, it was Bartomeu who made a slip and admitted to speaking to Al Khelaifi and offered to sign the player if they opened the door for him. 

Pini Zahavi, the intermediary, has tried to find the formula for a move, with players, money and an assortment of other ploys. There are a whole host of people involved and there's a lot of talk which makes it seem like a Neymar return would be nothing short of a miracle. But the door remains open and Bartomeu has to decide soon as to what Barcelona's next step is.