Barcelona are reportedly hoping that third time’s a charm.
After their second offer for Neymar – this time on loan – was rejected by Paris Saint-Germain, the Blaugrana are now considering a player-plus-cash deal for the Brazilian superstar that would send Ousmane Dembele to Paris, according to Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden of ESPN FC.
Previously, Barcelona had insisted they would not include Dembele in such a deal, but that stance has softened, ESPN FC added. One reason for the change is the club’s apparent disappointment with the winger’s handling of a recent injury. Dembele reportedly failed to disclose the full extent of his hamstring issue to the club right away, and will now be sidelined for five weeks.
A move to PSG would see Dembele – who joined Barca in 2017 for €105 million – return to his home country. He’d also reunite with manager Thomas Tuchel, who coached the 22-year-old at Borussia Dortmund. But convincing PSG sporting director Leonardo to pull the trigger could prove difficult, as the Brazilian apparently has doubts over the number of matches that Dembele has missed through injury during the last couple of seasons.
It’s also understood that Barcelona’s third attempt to reunite with Neymar – who left the team in 2017 for a world-record fee of €222 million – will be their last. Llorens and Marsden reported that some members of the club’s hierarchy are not sold on the idea of re-signing Neymar, but that they’ve reluctantly agreed to find a solution that would bring him back to the Camp Nou.
Barcelona’s initial attempt to sign Neymar reportedly failed when PSG rejected their offer of €100 million, plus Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic. Coutinho has since been shipped off to Bayern Munich on a season-long loan deal.
Although it’s widely believed that Neymar has discussed his intention to leave, PSG are confident that they’re in a position to recoup the €222 million they paid two years ago considering the 27-year-old is under contract until 2022.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid has reportedly attempted to hijack Barcelona’s deal, but the capital-city team’s efforts have fallen short so far. It’s understood that PSG turned down a €100-million offer that also involved Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, and goalkeeper Keylor Navas moving to the Parc des Princes.
Neymar has not featured for PSG since injuring his ankle in June while on international duty with Brazil.