- FC Barcelona is said to be planning an audacious swap deal involving Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.
- The deal would include a $US115 million fee as well as two Barça players heading to PSG.
- Reports indicate that one of the players on offer is the 22-year-old “electric” athlete Ousmane Dembélé.
- The trade could quite feasibly strengthen PSG while weakening Barcelona.
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FC Barcelona is said to be planning an audacious swap deal involving Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, but it is a trade that could actually leave the club worse off.
Barça sold Neymar to PSG for a world-record transfer fee of $US275 million in 2017, but the player has failed to live up to expectations by missing critical parts of the season because of injury.
He has also attracted negative headlines for lashing out at a fan who reportedly told him to “learn how to play” after a shock French Cup defeat, and he was recently accused of sexual assault by a 26-year-old woman, an allegation he denies.
Neymar’s refusal to attend preseason training until this past Wednesday – two days after he was due back – heightened rumours he would be leaving the club.
And there may even be a buyer waiting in the wings, as Barcelona seems keen to bring him back to Camp Nou no matter the cost.
Sky Sports reports that Barcelona has offered $US115 million, plus two players from a shortlist that includes Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo, Malcom, and Samuel Umtiti.
But there is scepticism from the industry that recruiting Neymar, 27, at the expense of Dembélé, 22, is the wisest of strategies.
Miguel Delaney, the chief soccer reporter at the British newspaper The Independent, tweeted: “Given age, and also the much-discussed off-field issues for both, don’t think it’s all that sensible for Barcelona to lose Dembélé for Neymar.
“If they must get Neymar, I wouldn’t sacrifice Dembele. He’s electric.”
Given age, and also the much-discussed off-field issues for both, don't think it's all that sensible for Barcelona to lose Dembele for Neymar. If they must get Neymar, I wouldn't sacrifice Dembele. He's electric.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) July 18, 2019
PSG’s sporting director, Leonardo, said earlier in the month that he would not be loath to lose Neymar in the current transfer window if there were “an offer that suits everyone.”
Considering the player-plus-cash deal said to be on offer, Leonardo may be keen to sell if he believes, like Delaney, that PSG is actually strengthened out of the trade while simultaneously weakening Barça, a Champions League rival.
PSG’s season officially begins August 3 with the Trophée des Champions match against Rennes.
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