How Barcelona refused to spend just €20m more to re-sign Neymar from PSG
Former Barcelona technical secretary Andre Cury has revealed how the Blaugrana and Paris Saint-Germain were just €20 million apart in their valuation of Neymar when the club attempted to re-sign the Brazilian in 2019.
Neymar became the most expensive player in history in 2019 when he signed for PSG from Barcelona for €222m in the summer of 2017, but has constantly been linked with a return to the Camp Nou.
In 2017 Barca spent big to replace Neymar by purchasing Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, while they spent a further €140m the next summer on the likes of Malcom, Arthur, and Arturo Vidal.
After none of those transfers worked out, the club knew a major signing was required in 2019, but had already agreed to sign Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid for €120m, meaning that when they decided Neymar needed to return, their resources had already been impacted by the Frenchman.
What did Barcelona offer for Neymar?
Barcelona subsequently offered a cash-plus-players deal for Neymar, according to Cury, with a difference of just €20m proving the reason why the transfer didn’t happen.
“That summer [of 2019] we were very close [to bringing Neymar back to Barcelona], but as Griezmann had already signed, [the club] was already up to its neck financially,” he told Sport.
“PSG asked us for 150 million [euros], plus the transfer of [Ivan] Rakitic and [Jean-Clair] Todibo and the loan of [Ousmane] Dembele. The only difference is that Barcelona’s representatives offered 130 [million euros] instead of 150 [million euros].”
Neymar’s contract with PSG runs out in the summer of 2022, with Barcelona reportedly interested in waiting until then to bring him back to Catalunya.
Lionel Messi, meanwhile, could leave Barcelona this summer at the expiration of his contract, but Cury reckons the promise of a Neymar return could convince the Argentine to stay.
“Neymar still has five or six years [left] of a very good career,” he suggested.
“Messi would surely stay [at Barcelona] to relive the magical moments they had together.”