In order to tell Paris Saint-Germain that he wants to leave the French capital, Neymar wants a guarantee from Barça ahead of his talks with Les Parisiens.
Neymar joined Barcelona in 2014 from Brazilian side Santos, and spent three years in the Catalan city. He became part of one of the best attacking tridents in football history with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, and was a huge source of inspiration in Barcelona’s historical comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League knockout round of 2017.
The summer transfer window that followed was the one in which he said goodbye to Barcelona, and joined the team he scored a brace against at the Camp Nou, after Paris paid his release clause of 222 million euros. He joined a team with an interest project on the horizon, and where he could be one of their absolute main men. Since then, Paris loaned an up-and-coming talent in Kylian Mbappé from fellow Ligue 1 side Monaco, with the player committing to a permanent contract with Les Parisiens only a year later, with Edinson Cavani also in the roster.
While Neymar’s start to life in Paris was turbulent due to the three players each wanting to be the main protagonist, his relationship with his teammates soon got better. The Brazilian has developed a close relationship with Mbappé and was well liked by the fans.
Last summer, however, the tone changed a bit. Barcelona publicly spoke about Neymar, while also talking to the player’s entourage, as well as the French club over a transfer that would send him back to the Camp Nou. The club reportedly had shirts ready for his signing as well as a presentation as the transfer looked very close to materializing. Paris stood their ground, knowing they had the upper hand as Real Madrid also seemed keen on acquiring the Brazilian, as well as there being no release clauses in France. Neymar stayed in France for his second year in a row.
Since there are no release clauses in France, FIFA have imposed a ‘protection period’, as part of Article 17 in their regulations. The rule states FIFA can quote a transfer sum that a player, after having spent three consecutive seasons in a team, can be bought for, regardless of the club. This would work in the same way a release clause would, but is imposed through FIFA instead of being set by the club. Using this release clause, Barcelona would be able to buy Neymar back this summer, without the consent of his current club; this was the same way Paris bought Neymar from Barcelona back in 2017.
The clause would reportedly be set at around 180 million euros. While that price would not have been extremely problematic for Barcelona before the coronavirus pandemic, the transfer market will see a significant change in prices and deals, of which many inevitably will involve player exchanges.
In fact, Barcelona tried their luck by offering several players as part of a players plus money deal for Neymar last summer, but the clubs never reached an agreement.
This summer, the player is set on moving. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Brazilian has refused Paris’ contract renewal offer, which includes 100 million euros as a signing bonus, and a retention of his current salary of 50 million euros a year. The former Barça man, who very much is regretting his move to France, is even, per the same report, willing to take a pay cut, cutting his wage in half, and definitively refusing Paris’ offer to stay, if it means he can go back to the Camp Nou.
However, he has one condition: he wants Barça to guarantee him that they will put in their best efforts to sign him. If the Catalans can give him that promise, he is willing to push for a move away.
According to the same report, the player and Barça had a verbal agreement last summer, which would see him earn the same salary he had in 2017, and drop the lawsuit he had against the club over an unclaimed loyalty bonus of around 26 million euros. The agreement the parties eventually could reach over a transfer back to Barcelona could potentially be under the same conditions, although his salary in Catalonia also would depend on Barça’s already hefty wage bill.
Neymar’s current contract with Paris Saint-Germain runs out in 2022, having penned on a five-year deal back in 2017.