It’s a deal that’s never really been off of the table, but Neymar’s return to Barcelona didn’t get over the line in the summer.
That was despite the Catalans seeming to do everything possible to get the Brazilian back at the Camp Nou.
In light of other information that only recently came to light, however, it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Neymar will soon be wearing the Blaugrana once again.Gerard Pique’s interview in which he explained that the senior players in the side were willing to defer some of their salary payments in order that Barcelona didn’t fall foul of Financial Fair Play, has sent shockwaves through the game.
But should we be surprised?
It’s never been a secret that the likes of Pique, Messi and Suarez have Neymar on a WhatsApp group, and are great friends with their former team-mate.
If there was a way in which they could help extricate him from his Paris Saint-Germain nightmare, whilst also bringing him back into the fold at Barca, it seems to be a logical move. Maybe even sensible.
It is worth dwelling on what it would mean for the squad as a whole of course.
Both from the perspective of how it might affect the players who have populated his position down the left hand side of Barca’s attack, and also because it more than hints at the senior members of staff running the dressing room, rather than Ernesto Valverde.
There had been prior suggestions that some of the senior players have wielded far too much power, but it’s always been dismissed as tittle-tattle by the club. That it was nothing more than mischief making by the media.
Can Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board really continue with that narrative now that Pique has dropped the bomb? One that Valverde claimed to know absolutely nothing about.
His words are the latest in a long disconnect between the players and those who run the club. The difference is that now performances on the pitch are beginning to suffer.
When all was rosy in the garden, supporters were prepared to turn a blind eye to any perceived shenanigans.
But with Barca having endured their worst start to a season in a quarter of a century, the chickens have come home to roost.
Even Neymar’s probable return is unlikely to pacify the masses as many no longer see him as a player who is needed in any event.