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Why We Can't Take Neymar's Reported Move To PSG Seriously Despite Whiff Of Legitimacy

Why We Can't Take Neymar's Reported Move To PSG Seriously Despite Whiff Of Legitimacy
By Mikey Traynor

On Monday night, reports emerged linking Barcelona star Neymar with a shock transfer to PSG, and Tuesday's news has been dominated by speculation that one of the Catalan club's megastars could be set to leave them in the lurch by moving to Paris.

The transfer would be a statement from PSG. Almost as a way of hitting back after suffering that infamous 6-1 humiliation at the Nou Camp, by taking one of their stars - and not a player they had deemed surplus to requirements or one they were eager to discard as the Ligue 1 club have had to do in the past, but bloody Neymar - they would be making major waves at the top of European football.

And there's no smoke without fire.

Every summer we can expect to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale linked with Manchester United, and it never happens, but there does appear to be a noticeable whiff of legitimacy about these latest reports linking Neymar to the Stade de France.

Some reliable members of Brazilian football media seem convinced that PSG are going to trigger Neymar's release clause, set at £222m, and will do so with the knowledge that the player wants to join them.

Catalan publications, such as 'SPORT' are also taking it seriously. Very seriously, in fact.

It’s not a rumour, nor a torpedo from the media cavern designed to destabilise Barcelona. The information SPORT has is that PSG are trying to sign Neymar.

It all sounds legitimate, and concerning for Barcelona. To lose Neymar now, a man five years younger than Lionel Messi and expected to carry the torch when the great man eventually hangs up his boots, would be catastrophic, and that's before taking into account how important he already is. Barcelona are a club that allows players to leave when they say so. Never the other way around.

And that is why it's so tough to accept.

It's nearly impossible to imagine a situation where Barca allow this to happen. Look at Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this summer. Not for one second did any sensible Man Utd fan believe that Ronaldo would be returning, because when it comes to players that are that important, mountains will be moved to save face.

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Even if PSG do trigger this apparent £222m release clause, whether this is Neymar wanting more money or something else, there will be a chance for Barca to convince him to stay, and they will give him whatever he wants.

Messi, Suarez, and Neymar are Barcelona's identity now. That front-three, arguably the finest that could be assembled in the modern game, is what makes the club seem like 'mes que un club'. Yes, they have had big players like Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Puyol, and Xavi, once deemed irreplaceable, move on in recent times, but in every situation there was a contingency plan in place and the club was in full control.

Neymar ditching Barca, in the summer where Real Madrid secured a league and Champions League double, would be such a massive blow to their reputation that, for now at least, it really is unthinkable.

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That is not to say it won't happen. PSG seem very serious and they can make very persuasive arguments with a bottomless pit of money and a city footballers think is fashionable, but it would be the biggest transfer story of all time were it to go ahead, and it's tough to wrap your head around the idea of Neymar playing his football in Ligue 1 next season.

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