DORTMUND, GERMANY – FEBRUARY 18: Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the UEFA Champions … [+]
The year 2019 was one to forget for Neymar.
PSG knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16 by Manchester United UBSI , the Brazilian received a ban for mouthing at match officials from the sideline.
He had been injured for the decisive second leg tie at the Parcs des Princes, but on returning to full fitness, was part of another disciplinary incident when deemed to have punched a fan in the aftermath of a Coupe de France final lost to Rennes on penalties.
Hoping to put his European club travails behind him at the Copa America, the 28-year-old was accused of rape by a compatriot that had visited him in the French capital with a media circus ensuing in their native Brazil.
Then, in the Selecao’s second last friendly before the South American tournament on home soil, Neymar hurt his ankle and was ruled out of activity while his teammates went on to lift the trophy at the Maracana in July.
Attempting to force a move away from PSG in the summer back to his old club FC Barcelona, who he left in a world record transfer move in 2017, the Ligue 1 giants’ ultras were unforgiving when the French top flight recommenced.
All that water in the bridge for now, with ‘Ney’ returning to the podium as one of the world’s greatest in-form players prior to the coronavirus-imposed postponement of soccer, the Santos academy product will try again in the summer.
Barça’s revenue severely-impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19, it now seems unlikely that the Catalans will utilize the unique Webster Ruling WU that could have made Neymar theirs again for a unique fee of $200mn, or hand over the $167mn cited by ESPN’s Juliens Laurens last month.
According to the French correspondent, sporting director Leonardo, whose relationship with Neymar is apparently untenable, would have been willing to sell the forward for this sum so that energy can be focused on keeping Kylian Mbappe from fleeing to Real Madrid.
LYON, FRANCE – MARCH 4: Kylian Mbappe of PSG celebrates his third goal with Neymar Jr during the … [+]
The ongoing pandemic will change the transfer market as we know it, however, with clubs such as Barça concerned about how they may look if handing over such monstrous amounts of money when many societies are reeling from furloughs, job losses and layoffs.
By president Josep Bartomeu himself, it has been admitted that cash-plus-player swap deals will become the norm to bring final prices below $100mn.
In the meantime, though, while it remains uncertain if La Liga will recommence, be canceled or when the window to sign players will open again, Mundo Deportivo have released details of what Barça’s last offer to PSG looked like.
Possibly resembling their next approach for Neymar, it too was a part-exchange deal lodged prior to the beginning of the 2019/2020 campaign.
According to Roger Torrelo and Fernando Polo of the sports daily newspaper, FCB were willing to part with $129mn plus Ivan Rakitic, Jean-Clair Todibo and the loan of Ousmane Dembélé.
PSG holding out for just over $20mn more, Barça could not afford to pull off the coup given they had just spent the $129mn on Antoine Griezmann.
Through a remarkable turn of events, the World Cup winner may be offered as a bargaining chip next time the two parties head to the negotiating table after spending just a year at the Camp Nou, but anything is possible in an altering sporting and economical landscape.