The Neymar saga has been on since last summer — Barcelona want their ex-player but a deal simply hasn’t worked out to bring the Paris Saint-Germain striker back to Nou Camp. PSG stunned the football world in 2017 by pulling off the transfer of Neymar after paying the Brazil star’s £198million buyout clause.
There have also been rumours about swapping Antoine Griezmann for Neymar. Griezmann joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid last summer and was expected to make an instant impact. However, the club isn’t quite happy considering he’s netted just 14 goals in 37 games.
Here are three reasons why Neymar should not come back to Barcelona.
3. Major financial costs involved
When Neymar signed a contract extension with Barcelona in October 2016, one of the clauses in the deal contained a release clause for the whopping sum of €222m. The Spanish giants hoped that would dissuade any team from enquiring about the player, but less than a year later, PSG came swooping in and activated the release clause.
If they are to sell him, it is safe to say that the Ligue 1 champions would be keen to recoup every penny they expended on their prized asset and indications have emerged that they have set a transfer value of €225m on Neymar. Barcelona are reportedly unwilling to match that figure but any transfer involving Neymar would ostensibly be completed for sums in excess of €150 million.
2. Injury woes a problem of late
Despite doing reasonably well for PSG over the last three seasons, Neymar has suffered from recurring injuries and his ankle problem has hampered his career and ruled him out of crunch stages of major competitions. His latest setback came last month just a few days to the kickoff of the 2019 Copa America on home soil, with a ruptured ankle ligament ruling him out as Brazil won the continental trophy for the first time since 2007.
In total, Neymar has been ruled out for eight-and-half months and missed 50 matches in the last two years due to injury. If Barcelona are looking to splurge the cash on him, they would expect him to be matchfit and ready to called upon whenever they need him. When Real Madrid signed Cristiano Ronaldo, they brought on a goal machine for a decade. But if Neymar is out injured most of the time, he doesn’t make that much of a difference to defend his high transfer fee.
1. Griezmann deserves a chance to prove himself
Admittedly, Griezmann hasn’t had the best of starts to life at Camp Nou. It took him a while to gel with the team and figure out his place alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, but signing Neymar would completely shut Griezmann out and he might even leave. Having said that, Griezmann is one of the world’s best versatile forwards. He needs to be backed and given another season to showcase his potential.
Neymar, on the other hand, has fallen some way off his previous heights and ws not even included in the top 10 nominees for last year’s Ballon d’Or, while it can be argued that Kylian Mbappe has overtaken him as PSG’s most important player. While Neymar might still be a decent player in his own right, his injury problems and dip in performance levels over the last two years means that Barcelona might not be signing the player they sold and as such they should steer clear of bringing him back.