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By Andy West
Spanish soccer writer
Transfer deadline day may have been and gone Britain, but in many countries it remains open until Monday plus some huge deals could be struck.
The majority of the motions are more very likely to occur in Spain’s La Liga, where swoops from the big guns have dominated the headlines for much of the summermonths.
The greatest story, clearly, has become the uncertainty over the future using a certain Brazilian celebrity…
By far the costly and protracted move of the summer are the return of Neymar to Barcelona from Paris St Germain.
On the surface of it, the move should be simple: Neymar would like to combine Barca, he is wanted by PSG out and Barca want him . But boardroom machinations deep enough to make Brexit look like a playground squabble over hopscotch beset the deal, therefore it’s been tricky to get over the finishing point.
There is A complication that Barca do not have enough money, they had to carry a bank loan to complete the signing of Antoine Griezmann out of Atletico Madrid earlier in the summertime. The Catalan club are attempting to conjure up creative alternatives, such as even a loan deal or a player-exchange but not one of them have been approved by PSG.
The French team refused the latest offer following two days of discussions of Barca earlier this week, and reports on Saturday maintained that Neymar has now given up about sealing the movement. But given the secretive and shady nature of this deal, that might be no more than a second outbreak of head games. Until the final bell has sounded, it is probably safest to not think anything.
Considering the sky-high fee and the way of his death in the Camp Nou two summers before, it is not surprising that Neymar return to this club has been met with a fair amount of opposition.
Former Barca manager Toni Freixa summed up the hostility by tweeting:”We are jeopardising the club financial sustainability. I don’t know what interests will be at stake, but people of Barcelona surely are not.”
But president Josep Maria Bartomeu appears to be prepared to forgive Neymar and overlook all of the fuss so among the most breathtaking transfers in soccer history could occur in recent days despite the lack of progress.
However, an ever more popular conspiracy theory – voiced by former France international Frank Leboeuf amongst other people – claims that Barca have no intention at all completing the deal and are now handing Neymar an elaborate kind of punishment for his earlier treachery, with the extra incentive of stringing along PSG for a few months.
Definitely not…?
The key to finishing the Neymar deal may be whether at least one of Barca’s current stars consent to proceed to Paris in yield, and within the span of summer practically half of the Camp Nou squad have been linked with PSG as part of the trade.
Right-back Nelson Semedo, central guardian Samuel Umtiti and former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho (who ended up linking Bayern Munich on loan) are one of those who have been reportedly provided or asked as pawns without understanding being reached.
One other name thrown into the hat is Ivan Rakitic. And suspicion is actuated by the fact that though the seasoned Croatian midfielder was almost ever-present over the previous few decades (just Lionel Messi has begun more league games because manager Ernesto Valverde came in 2017), he had been abandoned on the seat for the first three games of the new campaign.
Together with Rakitic, Barca might be ready to part with flying French winger Ousmane Dembele, who has been no more than a partial victory because arriving as a big-money replacement for Neymar from Borussia Dortmund (where he was managed by present PSG coach Thomas Tuchel).
Dembele has shown flashes of his huge talent throughout his time at the Camp Nou but he has also tested Valverde’s patience with frequently suffering injuries amid reports of personal indiscipline – it ought to be noted, however, the Dembele has played more games for his club (66) than Neymar (58) at the past two seasons, therefore the’injury prone’ tag can’t be rather used as a critical factor contrary to the Frenchman.
Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo – largely overlooked by Valverde so far this season – and centre back Jean Clair Todibo have also been touted as PSG recruits. There is every possibility that the proceed to Barcelona of Neymar will happen if a minumum of one participant heads in the opposite direction.
Real Madrid also have been consistently linked with a swoop for Neymar this summer a admirer of the match-winning skills of this star along with his commercial power off the pitch.
However, the arrival of Eden Hazard along with the failure to dispense with Gareth Bale or James Rodriguez signifies that Zinedine Zidane’s squad is already amply stocked with winger/forwards, and speculation regarding Real snatching Neymar from Barca has significantly died down on the past couple of days.
That does not mean Real have definitely concluded their business for the summer though, as an accession to the centre of midfield is quite much on the schedule for Zidane, who quipped on Saturday that his club may burst a”bomb, or even two bombs” before the window shuts.
Over the last 12 months the team have let the departures of Mateo Kovacic (to Chelsea), Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) and Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid) without any major additions at the middle of the pitch, leaving inexperienced Uruguayan Fede Valverde as the sole real alternative to this long-serving trio of Luka Modric (who will turn 34 next month), Toni Kroos and Casemiro.
It’s no secret that Paul Pogba continues to be the number one target ever of Zidane since he returned into the Bernabeu and the trainer has been left frustrated by his own team’s failure to make progress with Manchester United on his compatriot.
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen and Ajax star Donny van de Beek are another leading options, also Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon has also been linked, but Pogba remains Zidane’s favoured choice and it might be unwise to completely rule out improvements before Monday’s deadline.
Zidane surely won’t want to head in his disposal into the campaign with only four midfielders, so it would be surprising if Actual don’t sign someone. The question is if United can be persuaded into striking a bargain.
La Liga, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla, are looking to boost their departments before Monday’s deadline.
Atletico have come close to signing all-action Spain international Rodrigo Moreno with a planned 65 million swoop advancing to start saying his farewells to his own Valencia team-mates about the dawn of this new year.
But AC Milan’s bid for Atletico forwards Angel Correa – that would have financed the deal – fell through at the last moment, therefore Rodrigo has remained in Valencia for today. Milan’s move for Correa may nevertheless be reignited, however, and that would pave the way for Rodrigo to finish his move to the funds.
Then, the income from that transfer may see while the Mestalla club are also looking for a following a long-term harm to regular Cristiano Piccini, Valencia finalise an agreement with Barcelona for midfielder Rafinha.
In addition to Atletico the only other team from La Liga to acquire their opening two matches is Sevilla, where there has been a summertime of frenzied action after the return of iconic director of football Monchi led to no less than 12 new signings – and they are not finished yet.
The Andalusians waved goodbye to 3 strikers during the off-season, together with Wissam Ben Yedder, Andre Silva and Luis Muriel all leaving, and West Ham striker Javier’Chicharito’ Hernandez has been lined up to support Dutch target guy Luuk de Jong, a summer arrival from PSV.
The other striker who might be on the move – perhaps even to Sevilla when the Chicharito deal falls through – is Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz, who scored 21 goals for Lyon in the 2017/18 season but is unwanted by Zidane and can be accessible for around 20 million euros on deadline day.
All these transfers , however, are being left to the shadows cast from the summer’s really big story : will there be a second twist in the Neymar saga?

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