It was the transfer saga of summer 2019.
Just when it looked likely that Neymar would return to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain, another spoke was put in the deal and, by the end of the window, neither party could agree on the move.
Now that looks even further away from happening after the most recent developments.
You’ll recall that when Neymar left Barcelona back in 2017, to compound the Catalans’ shock at his exit, the Brazilian wanted his loyalty bonus paid.Understandably, Barca weren’t willing to accede to the same, and the furore surrounding it has bubbled under the surface ever since.
Had he have moved back to the Camp Nou, it’s understood that any demand for the monies would’ve been waived.
However, with the deal all but dead in the water, his advisors have resurrected their demands, and on Friday at a court in Barcelona, Neymar’s lawyers set out their reasons for believing that the player is still owed in the region of €64.4m.
Their contention is that it should’ve been paid in two instalments; €20m in July 2016 and the rest in July of 2017.
Though his contract with Paris Saint-Germain wasn’t signed until August 3, Barca have consistently noted that they have proof that the Brazilian was willing to leave before the end of July 2017, thereby making any loyalty payment null and void.
The blaugrana have also filed a lawsuit against the player for in the region of €33m in what looks likely to be another blot on the club’s copybook.
With senior squad members such as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique being vocal in their desire to have the Brazilian back in the squad, it remains to be seen what their reaction is to the latest developments.
A pre-trial agreement was rumoured, but never materialised, and whilst you can never say never in football, this latest round of legal fisticuffs surely draws a line in the sand once and for all.
Given Ousmane Dembele’s continuing injury problems, and the fact that Philippe Coutinho already seems well settled at Bayern Munich, Barca are likely to be in the position next summer where they are still looking for a creative wide man to lighten the load for Messi.
It’s difficult to comprehend how the club can have allowed things to drag on for this long too.
With so many other financial commitments to deal with, having a multi-million euro lawsuit hanging over the club’s head is the last thing they needed.
Ernesto Valverde noted in his latest press conference that he’s heard Neymar mentioned in ever press conference since he returned for the new season.
Perhaps now, that will cease and Barca can get back down to business.