Neymar controversially joined PSG in 2017 when the French side triggered his €222m buyout clause to make the Brazilian the most expensive player in history, but the summer just gone was dominated by gossip about an impending return to Camp Nou after two years of regret.
Neymar was alleged to have ‘cried’ when he was informed the closing stages of the transfer window that he wouldn’t be returning to Barça.
There was a plausible theory that the Catalans were never particularly serious about the transfer, with the various proposed player exchanges seemingly always destined to fail, with Barça also aware they didn’t otherwise have the ready cash to make a deal happen.
It was even suggested that Barça’s ultimately hollow pursuit was for show to appease Lionel Messi, while president Josep Maria Bartomeu apparently never personally met with Neymar, the player’s father or PSG counterpart Nasser Al-Khelaifi at any point during the saga.
Few would expect Barcelona to make a fresh approach in the notorious January transfer window, but Mundo Deportivo suggests that there are now doubts over whether it will happen next summer.
The first reason offered by the publication is that should Neymar return to Camp Nou, he would occupy the same position high on the left as 16-year-old Ansu Fati. His arrival could therefore keep the youngster out of the team and potentially hinder his development.
MD also raises concerns over Neymar’s fitness record. Injuries blighted his first two years at PSG, limiting him to only 37 Ligue 1 games across two campaigns, while a hamstring problem suffered on international duty will now keep him sidelined for a month in a latest setback.
It is further suggested that the priority for Barcelona, if they are to sign a new forward any time soon, is a ‘number nine’ to play centrally, rather than an inside forward or winger like Neymar. The point is made that Luis Suarez, who missed action earlier this season because of injury and was permitted to skip international duty this month, will turn 33 years of age in January.