Barcelona has ‘doubts’ about Ney­mar’s fu­ture

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Barcelona is wor­ried, very wor­ried, that Ney­mar might be headed to Paris-Saint Ger­main. The Brazil striker is ex­pected to be at prac­tice to­day, but no one seems to know if he’ll ac­cept a world record trans­fer or show up for train­ing. Just in case, Barcelona is mak­ing moves to pro­tect 26 mil­lion eu­ros ($30.7 mil­lion) that would be paid to Ney­mar if he stays in Spain, ac­cord­ing to a club of­fi­cial.

The of­fi­cial, who spoke on cus­tom­ary con­di­tion of anonymity, said “given doubts con­cern­ing the fu­ture of the player and while the sit­u­a­tion is re­solved” the money is being held from Ney­mar. “What the club does with the money, it does not know yet, given the un­cer­tainty of the fu­ture,” the of­fi­cial told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The 25-year-old Ney­mar would be due the money now as per his con­tract re­newal last year. But the amount is tiny com­pared to the 222 mil­lion eu­ros ($262 mil­lion) that PSG would have to pay to trig­ger the re­lease clause in­cluded in Ney­mar’s con­tract.

Ney­mar is sup­posed to ar­rive in Barcelona yes­ter­day after some pub­lic­ity events in China both per­sonal and for Barcelona. He is sched­uled to re­turn to train­ing at Barcelona’s train­ing grounds just out­side the city to­day. There are grow­ing ru­mors that Ney­mar, who has had four sea­sons of win­ning tro­phies and scor­ing spec­tac­u­lar goals at Barcelona, will bolt for PSG.

Part of the gos­sip sur­round­ing the pos­si­ble trans­fer is that Ney­mar was to meet with doc­tors in Qatar for a med­i­cal. PSG is owned by a Qatari com­pany.

But the Barcelona of­fi­cial said the “club is not aware of any med­i­cal exam of the player with PSG.” Ney­mar’s fa­ther, who acts as his agent and is also named Ney­mar, ar­rived in Barcelona on Mon­day. He was swarmed by jour­nal­ists at the air­port but re­vealed noth­ing about his son’s in­ten­tions.

Ney­mar also re­mained mum about his fu­ture while play­ing for Barcelona dur­ing its pre­sea­son tour in the United States be­fore head­ing off to Shang­hai to boost his brand as a fash­ion icon. Last year, Ney­mar signed a con­tract ex­ten­sion with Barcelona through 2021, with his buy­out clause in­creas­ing to the cur­rent 222 mil­lion eu­ros and 250 mil­lion ($288 mil­lion) by 2018. The bonus Barcelona is now try­ing to pro­tect is from that deal.

If PSG does sign Ney­mar, the cost of the trans­fer would more than dou­ble the 105 mil­lion eu­ros (then $116 mil­lion) that Manch­ester United paid a year ago for France mid­fielder Paul Pogba.

PSG starts its sea­son on Satur­day, while Barcelona has un­til Aug 13. Two weeks ago, Barcelona pres­i­dent Josep Bar­tomeu told the AP that Ney­mar “is not on the mar­ket.” He then told ESPN that if Ney­mar “wants to go . then they will have to pay the clause, right down to the last euro.” —AP


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