The future of Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar continues to be the subject of speculation, but the Brazilian is unlikely to make a sensational return to Barcelona because the transfer market has changed, according to the 28-year-old’s former agent.
Wagner Ribeiro represented Neymar when he made the switch from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 and has overseen some of the biggest deals in world football, including bringing players such as Kaka and Robinho to Europe from Brazil.
Yet Ribeiro is not expecting to see Neymar on the move again any time soon. The former super agent believes future transfer markets will look different because of the financial effect the coronavirus pandemic will have on football clubs.
“I think Neymar will stay at PSG because the market is different. The economic world of football will change,” he told Fox Sports.
Neymar made the shock move to PSG in 2017 for a world record fee of $263 million and is contracted to the French champions until June 2022. The Brazilian has rejected the offer of a new contract at the Parc des Princes, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez Keen for Neymar to Return
Neymar enjoyed great success with Barcelona, winning the league title twice and the Champions League. He also formed a lethal ‘MSN’ attacking frontline along with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, and both players have already made it clear they would want to play alongside him again.
Captain Messi told Mundo Deportivo in February that “he would love” to see the 28-year-old back at the Camp Nou and that the Brazilian “is really looking forward to coming back.”
Team-mate Suarez has echoed his captain’s thoughts. The Uruguay international spoke to Mundo Deportivo in April and said Neymar “would always be welcome because of the affection we have for him.”
Barcelona Feeling Financial Effects of Coronavirus
Yet the coronavirus pandemic has already affected Barcelona financially. The players have taken a 70 percent pay cut and will also make extra contributions to ensure non-sporting staff are paid in full during the crisis.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told Sport “there will be less money in the transfer market” and that he expects to see more player swap deals between clubs.
However, Bartomeu has remained adamant the club will still be able to make big-name signings this summer despite the financial difficulties. He told ESPN that “of course we have the capacity” to bring in top stars.
Bringing Neymar back would be a difficult and expensive move by Barcelona. The Catalan giants also continue to be linked with a deal for Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez and such a transfer would also stretch the club’s finances.