Ligue 1

Neymar: Florentino Pérez and Bartomeu at a crossroads

Florentino is still considering the Neymar option but doesn't want to cloud a future Mbappé move whilst Bartomeu is anxious to offer Valverde the strongest possible squad.

Madrid Barcelona
Neymar, su futuro se debate entre Madrid y Barcelona.

There are twenty days remaining in the current transfer window as the Madrid-Barcelona and Neymar saga rumbles on with the institutional fall-out from whoever secures the Brazilian inevitable on both sides. Florentino Pérez and Josep Maria Bartomeu go head to head in a bid to secure the striker with it appearing unlikely we'll see Neymar in a PSG shirt again. The reaction from the Parc des Princes crowd on Sunday at the Ligue 1 opener and the withdrawal of Neymar branded products from the PSG mega-store backing up this hypothesis.

A possible Camp Nou return for Neymar has received the backing of the Barça dressing room with both Leo Messi and Luis Suárez leading activists in pushing Bartomeu to orchestrate a return for the Brazilian. The Barcelona president has been in constant contact with the player's father and key agents André Cury and Pini Zahavi with the Israeli the point of contact in discussions with the Parisian outfit.

The initial strategy adopted by Barça was to main a certain distance from the situation but poor relationship between both institutions and the possibility of Real Madrid emerging as a potential suitor via a series of intermediaries have forced Barcelona to redefine their strategy.

There's now an element of a battle of wits regarding the Neymar situation. Bartomeu is now anxious not to lose out on the player to the side from the capital but is also aware of the levels of discontent within his board and among large elements of the club's fan-base in bringing back the forward to Camp Nou given the poor way his exit to Paris was handled. 

Brazilian forward Neymar smiles during warm up prior to the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Olympique de Lyon

We already have a "Clásico" before the season has begun with pressure on the Barcelona executive knowing that whatever the outcome regarding the Brazilian player, he will come in for criticism. The Barcelona president will also come face to face with PSG's CEO NasserAl-Khelaifi at the ECA meeting this mid-week in Liverpool.

What would the Neymar signing offer Real Madrid?

Any Neymar acquisition will very much be a presidential signing with Perez being a long time admirer of the Brazilian striker. It remains to be seen how the signing would be received by head coach Zinedine Zidane ho has made it clear that his number one target is French player Paul Pogba.

One handicap facing Real Madrid in pursuing the signature of the Brazilian is economic and the need to work within the confines of UEFA's Financial Fair Play ruling. Madrid's current bank balance after the summer activity is -170M€ and the club have been told to aim for a net -100. This suggests that exits for the likes of Bale, James and Mariano would need to materialise to pave the way for the Brazilian.

Neymar's salary (currently 38 million euro per season at PSG) would also create a certain level of tension with the player earning double of the wage of key players such as the aforementioned Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos.

Zinedine Zidane

Polls carried out among Real Madrid fans have shown a trend of the player not being needed, or indeed wanted at the club, however the lack of securing Pogba and the dismal showing in pre-season will have mellowed the more ardent anti-Neymar brigade who are looking for fresh sources of inspiration on the eve of the 2019-20 season.

What would the Neymar signing offer Barça?

Barcelona have been the club leading the way in the bid to reunite the player with Camp Nou. At this juncture, losing out to the 'arch-enemy' would be a major blow and it would hurt to see the striker further bolster one of their direct rivals in domestic and continental competition.

Barça's finances too have taken a hit during the summer with the initial acquisition of De Jong for 75 million euro and subsequent 120 million euro spend on Griezmann forcing the club to take out credit to finance the deal to bring the French striker to the Catalan capital. Barça could only finance the Neymar deal with a part exchange operation, something the PSG have initially ruled out.