Barcelona officials headed to France on Tuesday for talks with Paris Saint-Germain to seal a return to the Spanish club for Brazilian star Neymar, reports said.
The club’s director for football, retired French international Eric Abidal, and two other top club officials few to Paris to meet with their Paris Saint-Germain counterparts, Catalan radio Rac1 and Catalan television TV3 reported.
“The breakthrough is significant as PSG had up until now refused to meet with Barcelona emissaries but it does not mean that the deal is close,” Rac1 wrote on its website.
The deal which the Barcelona officials will propose could include other players such as Philippe Coutinho or Ivan Rakitic, it added.
📻 [RAC1] | The director of Barça, Javier Bordas and the technical secretary, Eric Abidal, will go to Paris to meet with PSG's sporting director, Leonardo to enquire about Neymar. André Cury will also accompany them. pic.twitter.com/y3M7WaKxcC— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) August 13, 2019
Paris Saint-Germain revealed on Saturday that Neymar transfer talks are “more advanced than before” after the Brazilian was dropped for the French champions’ opening Ligue 1 match.
Sporting director Leonardo confirmed to reporters that the Brazilian was near the exit door but that PSG were “not yet ready to give their approval” for the transfer.
Real Madrid or a return to Barcelona are the most likely destinations for the world’s most expensive footballer, won two La Liga titles and the 2015 Champions League in four years with the Catalan side.
Sports newspaper AS has reported that Neymar has been offered to Madrid by PSG, who are open to selling if they can either recoup the €222 million they spent on him in 2017 or receive half that amount with players included in the deal.
But Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo says that he would prefer a move back to Catalonia to play alongside former teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
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Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag is confident Real Madrid target Donny van de Beek will remain with them.
Van de Beek, 22, has been linked with the Santiago Bernabeu giants throughout the summer and talk has strengthened since a protracted pursuit of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba met a likely end with last week’s closure of the Premier League’s transfer window. The Netherlands international himself confirmed discussions were under way earlier this month.
“[Van de Beek] only dedicates himself to playing,” said Ten Hag to reporters prior to Tuesday’s second leg against PAOK, with the third-round Champions League qualifier all square at 2-2. “I guess and I hope that he stays with us this season.
“Otherwise, I will hear from [Ajax’s director of football,] Marc Overmars.”
Van de Beek has notched two goals and two assists from both 2019/20 Eredivisie games for the defending champions. They have already banked more than €150 million this summer from sales of centre-back Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus and midfielder Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona.
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.