Neymar to Barcelona chances are high, says Jonathan Johnson on Transfer Talk Podcast
PSG and Neymar have until September 2 to resolve the Brazil forward's future
Last Updated: 16/08/19 10:35pm
Just what exactly is the latest with Neymar? Will he leave Paris Saint-Germain for either Barcelona or Real Madrid? Jonathan Johnson has the latest...
In what has been one of the longest-running transfer sagas of the summer, PSG and Neymar have until September 2 to resolve the Brazil forward's future, though a deal will be complex and expensive.
On the latest Transfer Talk Podcast, French football expert Jonathan Johnson gave a fascinating insight into the latest happenings in Paris, Barcelona and Madrid, and believes a move back to the Nou Camp could still be on the cards...
'An initial offer has been made'
A meeting reportedly took place between PSG and Barcelona this week, the first formal talks to take place about Neymar, but PSG want more than what was put on the table...
"Barcelona basically don't have enough money to meet PSG's demands. PSG want Nelson Semedo and Philippe Coutinho plus at least 100m euros in cash. Barcelona are unwilling to meet this, and would rather not let go of Semedo. They would rather [let go] Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic. Rakitic himself is not keen on the move, and Ousmane Dembele, another player touted, always wants to stay and fight for his place.
"These were the first official face-to-face talks between the two parties."
'Long road back after Ultras had their say'
During their clash with Nimes on Sunday, PSG Ultras made their feelings about Neymar clear. One banner read: "Neymar f*** off," while supporters were chanting "son of a b***" amid intense speculation regarding his future. Johnson says it's a long road back...
"It very much is usually the case that once the PSG Ultras decide they don't want you at the club any more, it's a very long and arduous road back, and one I can't see Neymar completing. I do think it has reached a point of no return with the fans.
"If for whatever reason a move away from PSG doesn't materialise, it will be very interesting to see how PSG reintegrate him not only into the squad but with the PSG crowd, and how the Ultras will react."
'Real interest real, but not advanced'
While Real Madrid are interested in Neymar, Johnson says Barcelona are ahead of their Spanish rivals.
"Real Madrid to have a significant card to play if they choose. They have some players who maybe Zinedine Zidane does not want, who could form part of the deal.
"And Real do also have more financial flexibility than Barcelona at this time. But it seems at the moment that the best thing Real are doing, from a PSG point of view, is putting pressure on Barcelona, because there's no greater motivation for Barcelona to make a deal for Neymar than to avoid him going to Real Madrid!
"The Real interest is real, but it's not as far advanced as the Barcelona interest. Neymar is not completely closed to the possibility of a move to Real Madrid."
'The ball is in Barca's court'
Johnson says there is still a lot of work to be done if Neymar is to return to the Nou Camp, but says it is the most likely outcome at this stage.
"At the moment the ball is completely in Barcelona's court to find an offer attractive enough for PSG to say yes to.
"At this very moment, I still think some compromise will be reached and Neymar will return to Barcelona. That can change, and we'll have to wait and see, but it is hard to see PSG holding onto him, and it would take Barcelona admitting defeat for Real Madrid to swoop in and take him.
"So right now I'd say the chances are fairly high that he will ultimately sign for Barca, but there is a lot of work to be done both sides and PSG won't want this dragging on until the last minute."
Thought the transfer window was closed? Wrong. Across Europe, plenty of deals are still being done, with Premier League players still able to move to the continent.
The transfer window for Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga and France's Ligue 1 closes at varying times on Monday, September 2. Meanwhile, League One, League Two and Scottish clubs' can also do deals until September 2.
Follow our Transfer Centre blog for all the latest news and rumours from the window...