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- FC Barcelona reportedly wants to re-sign Neymar because Lionel Messi misses him.
- Messi played with Neymar at Barça until the Brazilian left for Paris Saint-Germain in a world record $261 million deal in 2017.
- PSG does not appear bothered whether it keeps Neymar or not, and could auction the player off to the highest bidder as Real Madrid has also long been keen on the forward.
- This means a transfer tug-of-war between Spain’s two biggest soccer clubs could be in the offing.
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FC Barcelona is reportedly desperate to re-sign its former player Neymar because the club’s superstar forward Lionel Messi wants him back, according to Spanish sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo.
Neymar famously left Barça for Paris Saint-Germain in a transfer fee world record of $261 million in 2017 but could be the subject of a transfer tug-of-war between two of the biggest soccer clubs in Spain, as Barcelona joins Real Madrid in pursuit of the PSG striker.
Earlier this year, five factors suggested Real was just months away from making Neymar the world’s first player to generate $600 million in transfer fees alone.
But Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has allegedly been talking to Messi about Neymar, with El Mundo Deportivo reporting that the club is looking at making PSG an extraordinary offer.
Messi even asked Bartomeu to re-sign Neymar, El Mundo reports. The paper then said that Barcelona management is looking at including Antoine Griezmann, a player who is not yet even a Barça asset, as a means of helping fund the deal.
Griezmann recently said in a video that he will end a five-year stay at Atletico Madrid this summer, after helping the team win three cup trophies since 2014.
Griezmann had allegedly struck a private agreement with Barcelona back in March, where a transfer fee with Atletico and a salary with the player had all been agreed. Atletico Madrid CEO Gil Marin even said in an interview with Radio Estadio, as reported by the Evening Standard earlier this month, that he knows Griezmann had a deal with Barcelona.
But Barcelona apparently now wants to transfer that Griezmann deal, plus $135 million, to PSG in exchange for Neymar, El Mundo reports.
PSG may be keen to trade
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Goal.com correspondent Peter Stauton wrote on Tuesday that the Neymar project had "failed," citing the player’s exorbitant transfer fee two years ago, his $785,000 weekly wage, and an inability to turn domestic success into European by winning the UEFA Champions League.
The PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi even said in an interview with France Football that the club is keen to keep hold of young goalscorer Kylian Mbappe, but was ambigious about the future of other "celebrity" players, one of whom could have been Neymar.
"I do not want to have any celebrity behaviour anymore," he said. "Players will have to assume their responsibilities even more than before … if they do not agree, the doors are open. Ciao!"
PSG can potentially auction the player off, though. In a separate article, Goal.com said that the Madrid president Florentino Perez is keen to recruit Neymar, having missed out on the player when he moved to Barcelona in 2013, then again in 2017 when he left for PSG.
Considering Al-Khelaifa has issued a hands-off warning to anyone who wants to sign Mbappe, but left the door open to offers for Neymar, Real and Barça may end up in a transfer war with each other.
This is because both clubs could flex their respective financial muscles. If it came to that, Madrid may struggle to match Barcelona as it has already spent an incredible $342 million this summer, without balancing that with any player sales.
For Barcelona, it would be seen as a coup. Not only would it have signed one of the best available players in the transfer market, it would also have denied its main rival of that player, too.
FC Barcelona did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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