Barcelona reportedly rejected the opportunity to sign Brazilian superstar Neymar on loan from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) this summer. It has been understood that PSG reportedly offered Neymar as part of the deal, which will see Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele move to Paris. PSG are expected to pay €50 million (£43 million) for Dembele even though the release clause for the amount expired on July 31. Dembele renewed his contract with Barcelona last year.
As per the new deal, Dembele could stay at Camp Nou till August 1 next year. But the winger was keen to shift base to his homeland and pushed Barcelona for a move this summer. According to a report by Sport, when Barcelona were engaged in negotiations over Dembele’s potential deal with PSG, the French side requested them to accept Neymar for a season-long loan. Though, the offer could not satisfy the defending La Liga champions. With Dembele on the verge of leaving Barcelona, the club may be on the hunt for a new figure in the attacking unit. It seems Barcelona boss Xavi has no intention to rope in Neymar as a replacement since the Brazilian international does not suit his plans, the report added.
Dembele joined Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. It was the same year when Neymar wrapped up his decorated career at Camp Nou to join PSG. The French side had to pay a hefty release clause of €222 million to acquire the services of Neymar. After the deal was completed, Barcelona’s then-president Josep Bartomeu signed Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for a reported fee of €105 million plus add-ons.
Rumours about Neymar’s move to Barcelona started to grow when Lionel Messi ended his association with PSG to join Inter Miami earlier this summer. Messi was heavily linked with an emotional return to Barcelona. Messi’s comeback did not take place eventually. At that point in time, Neymar also reportedly opened up on his desire to return to Barcelona.
There were reports that the Brazilian star was ready to reduce his salary to make the deal happen. Though, Barcelona reportedly could not afford that. When Barcelona coach Xavi was asked about his intention to sign Neymar, the Spaniard was quick to deny the possibility of the 31-year-old’s return. “Look I appreciate Neymar as a person, as a player, as a friend, he’s a great player, but he’s not in our plans now,” Xavi was quoted as saying by Football Espana.
Before joining PSG, Neymar spent four seasons with Barcelona. During this time, the Catalan giants won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey trophies, one UEFA Super Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. Neymar was also part of the Barcelona squad which won the famous treble — La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League — in the 2014-15 season.