Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has this evening briefly opened up on the club’s chase of PSG attacker Neymar.
The story surrounding the future of Brazilian superstar Neymar has dominated the European headlines for months now.
Neymar of course departed Barcelona for Ligue 1 giants PSG two summers ago, for a world-record 222 million euro fee.
To this point, however, the 27-year-old’s stint in France has proven somewhat underwhelming.
All told, Neymar has directly contributed to a frankly-staggering 80 goals across 58 appearances in PSG’s colours.
However, while the Santos youth product has absolutely dazzled when fit and firing at the Parc des Princes, a pair of long-term injury problems have seen the 27-year-old confined to the sidelines when PSG have needed him most in each of his two seasons in Paris.
This, coupled with rumours of mounting tension between Neymar and the French champions’ board, has seen speculation mount that the South American could be on the move this summer.
Coutinho swap talks underway
To this point, meanwhile, the attacker’s former club, Barcelona, have been the outfit most persistently-touted as a potential destination.
Despite having already added Antoine Griezmann to their star-studded attack this summer, the Blaugrana are said to be eyeing one more signing up top.
And reports last weekend revealed that progress towards a Camp Nou return for Neymar was being made.
As per Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport, a swap deal involving Philippe Coutinho is gaining traction, with major developments having been expected this week:
Breaking | Barcelona have accelerated talks to sign Neymar with PSG this week, Les Parisiens now accept the inclusion of a player in exchange & are in talks with Philippe Coutinho, according to RMC.
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) August 11, 2019
‘See what happens’
As such, speaking in a press conference this evening ahead of his side’s La Liga opener versus Athletic Bilbao tomorrow night, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was inevitably drawn on the prospect of a Camp Nou return for Neymar.
The Spanish tactician, though, was coy on his side’s chances of landing the Brazilian, instead choosing to focus on the current players at his disposal:
‘Neymar? I’m on the sidelines of these issues. I focus on the team we have. He’s at PSG and we’ll see what happens.’
‘Would Neymar be a problem for me? I’m very happy with the current team and I don’t know what can happen next.’
Valverde also provided the latest on Lionel Messi’s fitness, with the Argentine looking set to miss out at the San Mames tomorrow with a calf problem:
Valverde: “Messi? We are not going to risk anyone. He has not yet trained with the team and we will wait because he is in his recovery process.”
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) August 15, 2019
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