Neymar up for auction between Madrid and Barça
With the Premier League transfer market now closed, Real Madrid or Barcelona are the only viable destinations now for the wantaway PSG star.
The summer transfer window could still throw up a few surprises for Real Madrid fans. Neymar's fallout with PSG has ended up with the player being offered to Madrid and both sides have already held talks over the 27-year-old.
But as a player valued at 200 million euros and with a salary of 37 million euros per year, the situation for wantaway Neymar is complicated. PSG reportedly offered him to Manchester United, but the Old Trafford board turned down the proposal.
With the Premier League transfer market now closed, Real Madrid or Barcelona are the only viable destinations now. And if the two clubs end up in a bidding war for him, it will be Neymar himself who benefits from those circumstances: as a deal will be done faster and with better terms for him.
Madrid and Barça could repeat 2013 battle for Neymar
A similar situation occurred when Neymar signed for Barcelona in 2013. The Brazilian had first reached an agreement with Real Madrid, and had gone as far as to pass a medical. Then Barcelona appeared and an auction ensued, with the Catalan club out-bidding its rivals. Now the situation could be repeated six years on.
Madrid has the opportunity to enter the operation openly and has several factors in its favour. First is the club’s amiable relationship with agent Wagner Ribeiro, a key man in Neymar’s circle, whom Florentino Peréz met a few months ago at the offices of his construction firm ACS Group.
Relations between Madrid’s recruitment director Juni Calafat (the man that discovered Vinicius) and Neymar Sr. is another factor, as is the good relationship between Peréz and PSG president, Nasser Al Khelaifi, who have always held mutual respect for each other.
On the other hand, the PSG president has had conflicts with Barcelona in recent years, particularly in relation to Barça president Josep Bartomeu's attempts to sign Marco Verratti and later Adrien Rabiot. In fact his reaction to the Verratti approach was to tempt Neymar away from Camp Nou, which he did so in 2017.
Nevertheless, what Barcelona has in its favour is the fact that Neymar’s first preference would be to play alongside Lionel Messi again. The Argentine star has seemed cold towards his new strike partner Antoine Griezmann, and has reportedly asked Bartomeu to bring Neymar back.
Gareth Bale could form part of Neymar swap deal
For Real Madrid and PSG the operation could also be considered as an exchange of favours. Today, Neymar is a big problem for PSG which they wand rid of; while Madrid has the issue of deadweight consisting of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez – two players unwanted by coach Zinedine Zidane. Either, or both, of those players could be offered to PSG to lower the cost of the Neymar operation.
The case of the Welshmen is especially worrying for the Bernabéu boardroom. The Premier League was his most suitable destination. But with the market closed in England, Madrid would find it an ideal situation if he went to PSG, one of the few clubs that could be willing to pay his astronomical wages.
The French club would also be open to including Keylor Navas in negotiations. They are currently in talks to sign AC Milan keeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, but their ideal signing between the posts would be the Costa Rican, which would leave Lunin as Zidane’s second choice keeper.
Paul Pogba is now a virtual impossibility for Madrid, but there could still be one more Galáctico to arrive at the Bernabéu before the summer is out.
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