Barca gave newest bid for Neymar, PSG annoyed by it’s approach


Paris Saint-Germain are unhappy with the way their first direct meeting with Barcelona went on Tuesday regarding the potential return of Neymar to Camp Nou, according to ESPN. Barcelona have begun negotiating a cash deal with a player exchange to sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

According to sources, Barca are prepared to offer as much as €100 million with Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic -- whom Barca will need to convince in order to make the switch -- included as part of the deal. Until now, Barca had hoped to negotiate using only players. As well as Coutinho and Rakitic, the Spanish champions had considered adding Ousmane Dembele and Nelson Semedo even though the Portugal international is considered "unsellable."

However, sources have told ESPN FC that PSG are not too keen on Rakitic but are interested in Coutinho and continue to push for Semedo to be included in the deal. An initial offer of €60m plus Coutinho from Barcelona has already been rejected by PSG, according to ESPN FC sources.

A meeting between the two clubs took place on Tuesday, with sources telling ESPN FC that Camp Nou president Josep Maria Bartomeu sent director of football Eric Abidal and technical secretary Javier Bordas to represent the club. Also in attendance was Andre Cury, the club's director based in Brazil, who has a strong relationship with Neymar's family.

PSG sporting director Leonardo was also present alongside trusted No. 2 Angelo Castellazzi, while superagent Pini Zahavi, who brokered Neymar's move from Barca to the Ligue 1 side, was also expected to be there. Sources say no major advances were made during the meeting, which Barca are viewing as the first contact between the two clubs as negotiations step up. PSG stood firm with the hope of a bidding war breaking out between Barca and Real Madrid.

Barca still believe the deal is "very complicated," but Madrid's inability to meet PSG's demands could help the Blaugrana.
Madrid president Florentino Perez is interested in the Brazil international's signature, but having failed to find the funds to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, with Pogba having been manager Zinedine Zidane's No. 1 target, it is unlikely they can afford Neymar.

Madrid are still in the race, however, thanks to Perez's relationship with Neymar Sr., and they have more financial power than Barca. However, sources have told ESPN FC that a return to Camp Nou is the Brazil international's preferred choice. Barca's financial situation is not at its healthiest, but Bartomeu is ready to make one final push to secure Neymar's return.

Coutinho appears resigned to the fact that his future lies outside of Barca and would see PSG as a good opportunity to continue his career. Bayern Munich remain interested, but Barca deem him crucial in any negotiations for Neymar. Coutinho is the Catalan club's record signing, having cost €160m in January 2018. Another player who could be used as a makeweight is Rakitic. He was vital in Ernesto Valverde's first two seasons, but the Barca boss refused to confirm the Croatia international would remain at the club. When asked about Rakitic's future, he replied: "I don't know if he will stay."

The departures of Coutinho and Rakitic would free up wages for incoming players, with the duo among the highest-paid players at the club. This week is deemed "vital" in understanding how much cash will be required to complete the transaction. Barcelona are confident, though they are awaiting a gesture from Neymar to reject the rumours of a move to Real Madrid.
Barca defender Gerard Pique said recently that the "squad are in contact with him" but added that the chats are "private." Pique also invited Neymar to make a statement of intent.

It was first reported that a deal for Neymar was "doable" despite the impending arrival of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid in June. Despite numerous exchanges over the valuations of multiple players, there was no breakthrough, although the French champions have made clear to their Catalan counterparts what they will and will not accept.

As revealed by sources, negotiations over a cash-with-a-player exchange started in Paris this week with Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic the players Barca were keen to include in any potential deal.

However, PSG told the La Liga giants during this meeting that they want Coutinho, Nelson Semedo and €120 million in exchange for Neymar, while Barca's best offer so far is Coutinho, Rakitic and €80 million. Sources added that no major advances were made during the meeting, which the Blaugrana are viewing as the first contact between the two clubs as negotiations step up.

There will be another meeting between the pair on Thursday during UEFA's European Club Association gathering, which the Ligue 1 outfit's chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi will be present for -- as will Barca counterpart Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The occasion, say sources, will give Real Madrid president Florentino Perez the opportunity to start negotiations with PSG as the Spaniard will also be present and maintains a great relationship with Al-Khelaifi.

Neymar and his father were in Portugal on Tuesday and both are now very confident that the Brazil international will be returning to Barca before the end of this summer's transfer window. Meanwhile, sources indicated that Barca want a public gesture -- possibly via social media -- from Neymar to prove his commitment to the potential move.