FEATURE | Barcelona to reassess transfer strategy amid coronavirus pandemic

Barcelona have been targeting Neymar since last summer and they’re seriously interested in bringing him back to Camp Nou this summer, according to multiple reports in Catalonia. Another player on their wishlist is Inter’s Argentine striker Lautaro Martínez, who is tipped to become Luis Suárez’s successor at the club.

Paris Saint-Germain will be open towards listening to offers for Neymar, just like last summer. Barcelona have however run into some financial difficulty due to the coronavirus outbreak, with Barcelona players willing to accept a temporary salary cut. Sources tell ESPN that due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, the summer targets of various clubs have been hampered, including at Barcelona. 

This is why the club, who currently sit top of La Liga after 27 games, have a big decision to make – Lautaro or Neymar? Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu wants Neymar back at the club and preferably before his mandate ends in 2021. Various players like Lionel Messi and Suárez have publicly expressed their desire towards the return of the Brazilian superstar.

As for Lautaro Martínez, the Blaugrana feel that the release clause of the player is too high. Lautaro’s current contract with Inter runs until 2023 and contains a €111m release clause. Real Madrid are also going to compete with Barcelona for the striker, which is why the Catalan club have to make their final decision swiftly.

Multiple reports have also confirmed that Neymar’s intentions this summer will be to aim towards a return to Camp Nou. Barça, it seems, will negotiate with PSG over the player just like last summer. They will be keen on adding players into the deal along with a significant amount of cash. However, if there is still no agreement, they can follow the FIFA Article 17 route.

The FIFA Article 17 states that once a player, aged 28 or above, spends three seasons at a particular club, the player can terminate his own contract. This is called the protected period. As per ESPN, Barcelona know what they have to do to bring Neymar back through this route. For this reason, Neymar has to make the first move and terminate his contract at the club. He’ll be able to do this once this season is over.

Everything indicates that Barcelona will once again go for Neymar in the next transfer window, with the chances of his return more likely than ever before. Last summer, PSG had the ball in their court on Neymar. This time, if Neymar terminates his contract, PSG cannot do anything about it. FIFA will then have to decide the release clause of the player based on several conditions, primarily because release clauses don’t exist in France.


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