FC Barcelona, historically, has been a club that is used to getting what it wants in the transfer market. Even in the recent seasons – when its financial situation has been the subject of much scrutiny – high-profile names like Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Jules Kounde have snubbed approaches from other clubs in favor of wearing Blaugrana colors.
However, this summer, club president Joan Laporta has failed to engineer not one but two high-profile returns to Camp Nou for different reasons.
Barca headed into the summer transfer window with an aim to bring back Lionel Messi to Camp Nou. The Argentine was open to returning to his former chomping ground, and multiple reports suggested the Spanish giants were working hard to make the move happen. But that transfer saga didn’t last long as David Beckham led Inter Miami managed to strike a deal with the World Cup winner.
In recent weeks, talks of another emotional return picked up pace, as Paris Saint-Germain and Neymar decided to cut ties.
Barcelona senior figures wanted to sign Neymar
The defending La Liga champions are crying for an elite left-sided attacking option. Neymar was understood to be open to the idea of returning to Catalonia. And most importantly, multiple key decision makers, including Mateu Alemany and Deco, wanted the Brazilian back.
Still, the 31-year-old is set to join Al-Hilal in a move that would see PSG bag close to £86.3 million in transfer fees and the Brazil international take home over £129.4m a year in wages. These figures are certainly out of the Catalan giants’ reach, and whether Neymar and PSG would have agreed to a compromise remains unclear.
However, the club’s hierarchy never reached an advanced stage to discuss finer economic details and possibilities because of one main reason: Xavi Hernández.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Xavi wasn’t convinced of the operation Neymar. The Barca manager is keen on taking a different road with regard to his options going forward. It is also understood that Neymar was equally against the idea and during conversations made it clear he wasn’t going to return as long as Xavi is at the helm.
It’ll be interesting to see what direction Barcelona will go in the remaining days of the dramatic transfer window.