It’s no secret that FC Barcelona wants Neymar Jr. and the Brazilian wants to return to Barcelona as reported by ESPN and other sources. The issue has always been that the Catalan club does not have the players or the money necessary to entice Paris Saint-Germain to part ways with one of the top three footballers on the planet. That could change next summer if recent reports are to believed.
According to Le10Sport, Barcelona continues to chase Neymar and the outlet suggests that Antoine Griezmann, plus cash, could be their offer to Paris Saint-Germain next summer. The Frenchman, who only recently arrived from Atlético Madrid for €120 million in a somewhat shady deal, has yet to settle in with his teammates—Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez in particular.
Reported by AS, Griezmann apparently doesn’t talk that much with Messi and if finding it “difficult” to bond with the Argentine. When asked about their relationship, Messi responded that he has “no problem” with Griezman and that there is a good relationship with everyone.
On the pitch, Griezmann has found life equally difficult as most strikers would playing with Messi and Suárez. As Bleacher Report notes in their story about the potential Griezmann to PSG transfer, those players command so much of the ball and space that fitting another player alongside them is not guaranteed to work out. Through nine appearances for Barcelona, Griezmann has scored three goals and recorded two assists, not bad, but not great return for a €120 million investment.
What does all of this mean for PSG? Well, Barcelona is well within their right to make an offer next summer. PSG is willing to sell Neymar according to L’Equipe and with his contract running out in 2022, you have to imagine sporting director Leonardo, head coach Thomas Tuchel, and others involved in the decision would part ways with him for the right price. Therein lies the problem. Griezmann, plus cash, is not enough for Neymar.
We don’t know what the cash part of this deal would be, but that’s not something PSG are exactly short on. They need players and unless Barcelona is willing to include Nélson Semedo, Philippe Coutinho (if FC Bayern Munich doesn’t activate the option to buy after his loan), or Ansu Fati, the highly-rated 16-year-old currently making a name for himself in La Liga, along with Griezmann, it’s hard to imagine PSG agreeing to a deal.
What Barcelona must understand is that PSG will not be bullied into a transfer. They should know this by now after their attempted coup of Marco Verratti fell through as reported by Mundo Deportivo. They also need to understand that in order to sign Neymar, they are going to have to part ways with a player they really like and/or a substantial amount of money. PSG played €222 million and they’re not going to let him return to Barcelona for a player who doesn’t fit in with Messi and Suárez and help them get better. Not to mention that Neymar is in fantastic form at the moment with three game-winning goals and is getting along very well with Kylian Mbappé and his other teammates. It’s the exact opposite of the situation in Barcelona right now with Griezmann and his teammates.
While he is French, Griezmann has more in common with Spanish football than Ligue 1. He’s played his entire career there and has previously commented that he didn’t want to leave Atlético for Paris, China, USA, Russia, or anywhere else. The FIFA World Cup winner did have a chance to sign for PSG in the summer of 2016 but ultimately decided to stay with Atlético. Speaking to RMC, Griezmann’s advisor, Eric Olhats, confirmed that they had been in meetings with PSG about a potential transfer. “There were discussions with Olivier Letang [former PSG sporting director],” Olhats said. “There was interest from Paris. We listened because it is all the same a club with objectives and resources.” So, if Griezmann turned the club down before, why would he have a sudden change of heart? Does he really want to be in Paris or would the club be his best option after a less than stellar season in Barcelona?
Antoine Griezmann about a move to #PSG this summer: “No. I don’t want to leave Atlético, go to Paris, China, USA, Russia or anywhere else.”
— Tom Coast (@thcoast) March 20, 2017
The January transfer window is still months away but that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from churning along. For now, Neymar is still a PSG player and recently told Le Parisien that he is very happy to be able to help PSG and that he will give his life for PSG. You can’t ask for more than that if you’re a supporter. If Griezmann turns out to be another Barca Bust and Neymar pushes for a move next summer, PSG should look elsewhere for a better transfer deal and not entertain the Catalans any longer.
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