Barcelona star Neymar makes pit stop in Dubai as he nears €220m PSG move

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Neymar has landed in Dubai as reports of a move to Paris Saint-Germain grow stronger.

The Barcelona star posted pictures and videos on his Instagram story in which Dubai, UAE is tagged as the location.

The Brazilian arrived in the Middle East after completing sponsorship duties in China.

Neymar appeared relaxed as he smiled and posed with friends while dining out.

The superstar could become the most expensive football player of all time as PSG prefer to trigger his €220m release clause.

He is expected to pen a deal which could see him earn £500,000-a-week.

L’Equipe have claimed that even though reports of Neymar undergoing a medical in Qatar this week surfaced, it is more likely that he will do so in Paris, possibly even next week.

Various reports suggest he will now travel to Barcelona while others insist Brazil is his next destination.

Neymar quoted a passage from the Bible through an Instagram post perhaps hinting at his potential PSG move.

“I am not saying this because I am in need,” the 25-year-old wrote. “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

“I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

The pitstop in Dubai appeared to be for the purpose of a transit as the forward was soon on another flight. A trip to Doha via another Middle Eastern country is not out of the equation either.

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Pep Guardiola's spending from Barcelona to Manchester City - Three hits and misses

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Pep Guardiola – the tactical genius, possession football advocate and groomer of young, homegrown talent – has spent over €1 billion in transfer fees.

Given that a huge chunk of his finest players graduated from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, it’s surprising that he’s still managed to spend as much as he has over just eight years of senior management.

Here’s a look at the Spaniard’s best and worst signings.

HITS

XABI ALONSO

For years on opposite sides of a captivating El Clasico rivalry, Xabi Alonso proved to be the kind of midfielder who could take on Guardiola’s ethos effortlessly.

His passing ability and intelligence saw the former Barcelona coach place his faith in him instantly, even using him as a sweeper in a back three. Signing him from Real Madrid for just €10 million, Alonso was a bargain. The fact that Guardiola was able to hurt the La Liga giants in the process only sweetened the deal.

In September 2014, Alonso broke the Bundesliga record for the most passes in a single game (196). He won two Bundesliga titles under Guardiola and was one of the top performers during the Spaniard’s reign.

FC Bayern Muenchen - Doha Training Camp Day 1

GERARD PIQUE

Despite being tipped for a bright future at Manchester United, Gerard Pique’s path to the first team was blocked by the unmatched central defensive pairing of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

Guardiola brought the La Masia product back to Barcelona and for the paltry sum of €5 million, an absolute steal for one of the most promising young defenders in Europe at the time. Pique fit perfectly into the tactician’s revolutionary tiki-taka style of play.

The young centre-back’s elegance and ability with the ball at his feet, enabled him to be one of the key distributors as Barcelona insisted on playing out from the back. His pace and athleticism allowed the team to maintain a high line and press their opponents.

Pique also developed a knack for scoring goals, often striding forward with the ball and continuing his run into the box, a trait that earned him the nickname ‘Piquenbauer’ after the legendary Franz Beckenbauer.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI

In a way, Robert Lewandowski was a no-brainer for Bayern Munich and Guardiola when he agreed to sign for the German juggernauts on a free transfer. He was one of the most sought after strikers in Europe and a potentially world class player.

However, he was far from the archetypal Guardiola forward. He was an out-and-out No9 and was accustomed to a high-intensity, counter-attacking style of play. Possession football was almost an alien concept.

But in the Pole, Guardiola found an intelligent and technically gifted player blessed with all the characteristics of a powerful centre forward. While he did go through a slight transitional period, scoring 25 goals in 49 appearances in his first season at the Allianz Arena, he went on to plunder 42 in 51 in the following campaign.

MISSES

DMYTRO CHYGRYNSKIY

Guardiola signed Dmytro Chygrynskiy from Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee of €21 million back in 2009 as a long-term replacement for Carles Puyol. However, the two proved to have little in common apart from the length of their hair.

The Ukranian failed to impress in his first season, making just 14 appearances. Although Guardiola was adamant he would grow into a great defender for the club, new President Sandro Rosell sold Chygrynsky back to Shakhtar for €12.57 million.

Barcelona's Ukrainian defender Dmytro Ch

ALEXANDER HLEB

The signing of the Arsenal midfielder was among the strangest in Barcelona’s history. It wasn’t the best start to the transfer market for Guardiola either as the deal was one of his first as head coach.

Alexander Hleb had enjoyed a couple of good seasons at Arsenal and was one of the creative forces in Arsene Wenger’s set up but he only ever warmed the bench at Barcelona, failing to take the few opportunities he was afforded.

He endured a series of loan spells before eventually joining Russian Premier League side Krylia Sovetov after his contract expired.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

By his standards, the stint at Barcelona was a failure for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Even though he managed a healthy tally of 22 goals in 46 appearances, much more was expected from the €58.34 million buy.

Ibrahimovic couldn’t conform to the philosophy at Barcelona and like many forwards at the club, was made to play out of position to accommodate Lionel Messi. To shackle a player of his calibre proved to be a colossal waste.

It could be argued though that the most damage was done after he left Barcelona the following year and released his autobiography which exposed the ‘schoolboy’ nature at the club and also featured a less than flattering image of Guardiola.

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Chelsea shortlist four midfielders to replace Manchester United signing Nemanja Matic

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WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

Chelsea are interested in Leicester midfielder DANNY DRINKWATER, according to the Daily Mail, who report that the England international is on a list which also includes Bayern Munich’s RENATO SANCHEZ, Arsenal’s ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN and Everton’s ROSS BARKLEY.

The Daily Mirror say Barkley will have to lower his wage demands to join Tottenham, who are not willing to pay the £120,000-a-week wages the 23-year-old England midfielder turned down at Goodison Park.

The Evening Standard claim Newcastle have entered the chase for LUCAS PEREZ but are as yet not ready to match Arsenal’s £13.4 million valuation.

ONLINE/SOCIAL ROUND-UP

PLAYERS TO WATCH

NEYMAR: PSG are so confident of signing the Brazilian they are already planning how to unveil him, according to ESPN.

THOMAS VERMAELEN: Sky Sports claim West Brom are interested in the 31-year-old former Arsenal centre-back, who has spent three injury-blighted years at Barcelona.

MASSADIO HAIDARA: French left-back is the latest Newcastle player to be told to find a new club, and is in talks to join Ligue 1 St Etienne – according to the Chronicle.

Provided by Press Association

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