Lionel Messi has urged ex-Barcelona team-mate Neymar to snub a switch to Real Madrid and return to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain, according to reports.
Neymar, 27, has endured a contentious summer that has included returning late to training with the champions and being dropped for this weekend’s Ligue 1 opener after sporting director Leonardo stated talks about an exit were “more advanced than before”.
Both El Clasico combatants continue to be strongly linked with hiring a superstar forward who netted 105 times in 186 run-outs for Barca before August 2017’s world-record €222 million exit to Parc des Princes.
Marca have stated that Argentina icon Messi has spoken to Neymar on the telephone and urged him to reject advances from Santiago Bernabeu and pursue a comeback to the side he joined from boyhood club Santos in June 2013 for €57.1m.
Neymar retains a firm friendship with Messi and fellow Barca front man Luis Suarez. The La Liga holders hope this could prove pivotal.
Both Barca and Real require either substantial player sales or a part-exchange deal to fund the ambitious move.
Henry Onyekuru has completed a transfer from Everton to Monaco for an undisclosed fee, the clubs have announced.
Nigerian forward Onyekuru joined Everton from Belgian team KAS Eupen in 2017.
He spent spells on loan at Anderlecht and Galatasaray, helping the latter to the title in Turkey last season, and never played for Everton.
“AS Monaco is pleased to announce the signing of Henry Onyekuru from Everton,” read a statement on the Ligue 1 club’s official website. “The Nigerian offensive midfielder is committed to five seasons.”
Copy provided by Press Association Sport
Struggling to pick out the facts from the figures? Reality from the rubbish? Sense from the silly season?
We’ve got you sorted in our daily dose of the Transfer Predictor, where we round up the latest rumours with an analytical spin.
We sort through the most eye-catching transfer reports of the past 24 hours and give a balanced judgment on whether the move really will happen – and why, or why not.
Today’s edition features a struggling Barcelona midfielder, a Real Madrid surplus and a potential signing for Monaco.
Barcelona -> Loan -> Bayern Munich
Various sources close to both clubs have confirmed that Philippe Coutinho could be playing his trades in the Bundesliga this season. Bild report that Barcelona have offered Coutinho to Bayern on loan with two options – a season-long loan with an option to buy and a loan for two seasons with a fee.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN
A pair of desperate boards are involved in this potential deal. The Spanish giants need to offload the player who failed to create an impact in 17 months at the club before they step up their chase of Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.
On the other hand, Bayern need a marquee signing to save face and bolster their depleted wings from what was a poor transfer window. The Bavarian club failed to sign their top two targets in Leroy Sane and Ousmane Dembele and will be counting on Coutinho’s deal going through to stay ahead of Borussia Dortmund.
Because of many requests: Not true: Bayern enquired about Philippe Coutinho through his representatives. True: Coutinho was offered Bayern. True: Bayern his searching for his position— Christian Falk (@cfbayern) August 12, 2019
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Several reports suggest that Barcelona’s priority is to include Coutinho in the Neymar deal and will consider other options only if this does not work out. This loan move would hence heavily depend on how the talks between Barcelona and PSG proceed.
Although Bayern have shown interest in the player, no formal approach has been made yet and the talks must advance before anything definitive can be drawn.
TRANSFER RATING: 6/10
Real Madrid -> Loan -> Real Betis
Real Betis are set to bolster their attack by signing Real Madrid attacker Mariano on loan, according to Marca. The player failed to make an appearance in any of Madrid’s three friendlies and has been tipped to leave Santiago Bernabeu before the start of the season.
WHY IT CAN HAPPEN
Betis have experienced problems in the final third for two seasons in a row. With former Real Madrid striker Jese Rodriguez failing to make an impact and club legend Joaquin inching closer to inevitable retirement, Betis are lacking in the attacking department.
A player with La Liga experience could help the Seville club produce the goals in proportion to the number of chances they create.
Mariano too should find this challenge interesting. He will be joining top players such as Nabil Fekir, Sergio Canales, William Carvalho and Marc Bartra at a club that has evolved a lot in the past couple of seasons.
WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN
Mariano’s €5 million annual wage could stand in the way of this loan deal. Betis already have a hoard of top names and hence a hefty wage bill. The Madrid winger could hence be forced to take a pay cut ahead of the loan move.
Valencia and Milan are also said to be interested in the player. Both clubs are financially superior to Betis and will face no issues in meeting the 26-year-old’s wage demands.
TRANSFER RATING: 6/10
PSV Eindhoven -> €42m -> Monaco
Serie A club Napoli had a deal in place to sign Mexican winger Hirving Lozano for a transfer fee of €42m. But disagreement regarding the image rights of the player has facilitated the entry of Ligue 1 side Monaco into the tussle.
France Football maintain that Monaco are willing to meet the player’s demand of a €4m annual wage and let him keep his image rights.
WHY IT WILL HAPPEN
It is believed that Monaco are pushing to sign the 24-year-old despite signing Nigeria forward Henry Onyekuru on Monday. The club is willing to meet the player’s demands and could beat Napoli in the two-way tussle.
After barely being able to survive in Ligue 1, Monaco will be tasked to display a significantly improved showing in the new season. A player like Lozano could bring a lot to the team and play a key role in their revival.
WHY IT CAN’T HAPPEN
Although Monaco are willing to meet the player’s demand, there are no reports that suggest that they have agreed on terms with PSV.
Besides, Napoli could still make a come-back in the race for the player. The lack of flair on the wings could lead Napoli to desperation to seal the deal.
TRANSFER RATING 5/10