Water is wet, death is inevitable and Barcelona continue to chase Neymar. Those are about three inconsequential premises you can simply say at anytime with their validity never in doubt.
Since Neymar signed for PSG in a world-record fee of £200m back in the summer of 2017, the Catalan side have maintained a certain obsession to bring the 27-year-old back to the Nou Camp.
When players (Pique) isn’t talking Neymar, a top Barca official is doing so – or more frequently, a report always brings a new twist to the Neymar-Barcelona love story.
It’s easy to see why Barcelona remain infatuated by Neymar. The 27-year-old is easily the best in his position (on a good day) and was a key figure in the trio of the famous “MSN” that was the most fearsome attack in Europe at some point and was enough to inspire Barcelona to a Champions League title back in 2015.
Poetically, Neymar had the last kick of that game and since then, the Catalans have failed to make a major stronghold in Europe’s most prized competition.
While the thought of Neymar keeps lurking around, the emergence of Ansu Fati is one factor the Barcelona hierarchy should have in mind when putting Neymar at the top of their transfer target list.
Not surprisingly, a key figure in the helm of affairs at the club recently expressed his thoughts on how a move for Neymar could be bad news for Ansu Fati.
Barcelona’s academy director Patrick Kluivert recently admitted the club remained interested in Neymar bur fears that if Neymar does eventually come back to Barcelona, it could be at the expense of the 17-year-old.
‘You never know, but as you’ve seen, it’s not easy [to sign Neymar],’ he told RAC1 h/t by Goal.
‘For two reasons: Qatar, and also the fact that if you bring in Neymar, you slow down some players that are already at the club.
‘This is a decision that must be made internally. If you bring him in, he’s a great player. But Ansu Fati, who plays the same role, you put the brakes on him, or other players.
‘What do we want to do? That’s what we have to ask ourselves. Do we want Neymar, do we want young players to come through, or do we want both?’
Signing an alternative to centre-forward Suarez should be more of a priority for Barca than adding Neymar on the reunion list.
Also, Neymar is not the player Barcelona once had – both physically and mentally.
From a psychological point of view, Neymar has endured a tough spell in France facing problems frequently with the fans, the press and having to fight his way back for acceptance on many occasions.
More importantly, is the physical side of things. Neymar was largely tipped to dominate the Ballon d’Or post-Messi-Ronaldo era and while we know his talents fit in that order, injuries have greatly limited his potential.
As per Marca, Neymar has suffered 16 injuries to date in his career, but he’s missed 175 days in 2019 alone already with more potentially to come.
Surely, Barcelona would not be keen on bringing in the older version of Ousmane Dembele. Right? Both players are hugely talented but we can only see that on the pitch which they’re hardly ever available to feature on in the first place.
Not surprisingly, Neymar only just returned from a one-month layoff in his side’s 2-0 win over Lille yesterday. If there is a fit and developing player in Fati on the rise, that should be more of interest to Barcelona than someone who will barely play games – especially based on the financial implications his purchase will cost Barcelona.
Moving forward, Barca don’t need another wide forward after signing Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid for €120 million in the summer.
The Frenchman has made a slow start to life with his new club, prompting reports that the Blaugrana could use him as a makeweight to convince PSG to sell Neymar next summer, according to Le10 Sport h/t by Daily Mail.
Griezmann will likely make the grade, though, and Ousmane Dembele is still around to offer glimpses of his mercurial talent. Fati has flashed his talent by scoring two goals and providing an assist in 304 minutes of La Liga action as per Transfermarkt.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 31, 2019
Barca are aware Fati’s talents are already catching eyes, and the club is ready to secure his future with a contract set to include a release clause worth £88 million, per El Mundo Deportivo h/t by Daily Mail .
It would be a tremendous show of faith in a promising talent who is yet to prove himself consistently at the highest level. At the same time, such an investment in Fati would surely show Barca are ready to build a new team without the familiar face of Neymar.