Speaking to L’Équipe, PSG attacker Neymar’s entourage sought to downplay recent Catalan press speculation linking the Brazilian with a return to Barcelona this summer.
“We have never spoken about that. For the moment, our only concern is with the coronavirus… We think the summer will be calm… Honestly we are not talking about that at this moment (Barcelona). Neither an extension with PSG, nor moving elsewhere.“
Barcelona’s current financial situation, with an overinflated wage budget, is yet another obstacle to a deal that seems highly unlikely to occur this summer.
Entering into his 4th year at PSG next summer, Neymar will be protected by Article 17 of FIFA’s rules on transfers and could unilaterally terminate his contract with the Paris club in exchange for paying all the costs incurred by Les Parisiens during the player’s time with the Ligue 1 champions, which would be around €180m. This was a fee that the Catalan club could not pay last summer, and there is no reason to assume things will change in this most uncertain of times for football with the COVID-19 disruption ongoing.
A source close to the club sought to summarise PSG’s position on Neymar:
“In the Neymar situation, contrary to the Mbappé one, PSG could accept payments over several years, which was not the case last year (in an eventual transfer).”
The paper also questions how the Barcelona board would justify such considerable outlay on Neymar when the entire squad has recently been forced to take considerable pay cuts.
A source close to Barcelona explained this away: “August is not tomorrow… Between now and then, everyone will have forgotten about it. All that is required is for Messi to say that the club needs Neymar and things can happen no problem.”