Despite a mind-numbing amount of articles claiming that Neymar is preparing to depart the French capital and finally make his long-awaited return to the club he left in 2017, there’s just no way for Barcelona to pull off a traditional transfer for the 28-year-old unless they resort to other underhanded methods.
If you’ve been following this transfer saga, you probably have heard all about FIFA’s Article 17, which would allow Neymar to break his contract with PSG and join Barcelona since, after the current season, he would have been with the Ligue 1 champions for three seasons. FIFA would then calculate a price for Neymar to pay PSG and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) would have to approve of the figure.
It’s a complicated clause in the FIFA bylaws that is rarely used. One previous example of Article 17 being used was with Scotland international and former Heart of Midlothian and Wigan Athletic defender, Andy Webster.
Tifo Football recently produced an explainer video that walks you through how the Andy Webster Rule, as it’s now become known as, could give Barcelona a pathway to finally prying Neymar away from PSG.
While this is an interesting concept, I’m still confident Neymar will remain in Paris. If Barcelona invokes Article 17, they open up the possibility of that clause being used against them in the future (and probably by PSG).
Plus, FIFA and CAS may decide that Barcelona must pay PSG a fee that they can’t afford. Given the fact that PSG paid €222 million for him in 2017 and he still has two years left on his contract, Barcelona’s plan to “steal” Neymar away could get a lot more expensive than just negotiating in good faith with Les Parisiens.
Sounds like Barcelona will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out a way to sign Neymar or just forget about it altogether.
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.