Barcelona are increasingly confident they will be able to land Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window shuts on September 2, despite the two clubs failing to reach an agreement following talks on Tuesday.
Representatives for the two European giants met face-to-face in Paris, but although a third offer from the Catalans was rebuffed, Barcelona technical secretary Javier Bordas suggested progress had been made.
Goal reported that Barca made an offer of €160 million (£144m) plus bonuses for the Brazilian, with PSG asking instead for €100m plus full-back Nelson Semedo.
Sport, meanwhile, claim the Catalans presented an offer of €170m, paid in various installments, while PSG asked for €100m plus Semedo and Ousmane Dembele. However, it is thought the Spanish champions aren’t prepared to lose any of their current squad.
Eric Abidal, Oscar Grau and Bordas were present on behalf of the Blaugrana, while PSG’s representatives were sporting director Leonardo and Djamal Bouras, the lawyer of president Nasser Al Khelaifi. Al Khelaifi reportedly did not attend the meeting, leaving Leonardo to lead negotiations for the French champions.
Despite the impasse in negotiations, Bordas said the club “felt closer to a deal than in days past”, as reported by ESPN.
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Sabemos tudo que aconteceu com @neymarjr. A saída dele do @fcbarcelona foi equivocada jamais ele deveria ter saído de um dos maiores clubes do mundo. Porém ele está com muita vontade de voltar e assumir o que fez. Que o presidente do @fcbarcelona e todos da diretoria não deixem o @neymarjr ir para outro clube. Espero que se resolva com o @psg e ele possa voltar logo do lugar de onde ele nunca deveria ter saído. Visca Barça
Barca feel happy that Neymar has pushed to leave and only wants to join them, rather than Real Madrid, who have not shown enough interest. It is thought the 27-year-old pleaded with Leonardo on Tuesday to let him return to the La Liga giants.
The presence of Grau in Paris cannot be understated either, with the chief executive officer fully in charge of Barca’s transfer funds. With Grau in France, a transfer would likely be wrapped up swiftly should the two clubs agree on compensation.
Previously, the main sticking point had been FFP regulations, with the Catalan club first having to get Philippe Coutinho’s wages off their books to make room for his fellow Brazil international at Camp Nou.
With Coutinho now having signed for Bayern Munich on a loan deal with an option to purchase, the final pieces of the Neymar puzzle could well be put together in Paris in the next 24 hours and see him once again link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
There is also interest in Neymar from Juventus, although neither they nor Real have yet made an official bid. Neymar has told PSG he wants to leave this summer but the Ligue 1 side want to recoup a majority of the €222m fee they paid two years ago.
And the French club are in a strong position to negotiate because it was never their intention to sell a player who is under contract until the summer of 2022.
They are keen for the saga to come to an end as soon as possible, especially with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani both facing around a month on the sidelines. Sources say they need to know if they will be able to count on Neymar this season – or whether they will have to turn the transfer market to replace him and strengthen their attack.
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