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The domino effect of Neymar’s potential move to Barcelona

A Neymar move could trigger a five-way, five-club deal

Paris Saint-Germain v Stade Rennais FC - Pre-game Training Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

If you thought you could escape the most mind-numbing transfer saga of the summer, you were wrong. Neymar’s protracted move from PSG to one of La Liga’s giants has been soul-draining. And yet it remains oh-so-important to the football landscape across Europe.

Neymar’s future is interlocked with a raft of players and clubs, and it’s likely Inter will be big players in the looming conclusion. The domino effect of any Neymar sale could re-shape a pair of domestic leagues and have major implications for the Champions League.

There are around five clubs that pretty much have to sign off on a potential deal. Let’s explore the possibilities.

Neymar to Barcelona

The latest reports have Neymar heading back to Barca rather than Real Madrid, apparently his first choice. Leo Messi, the single most powerful player on the planet, is adamant that Neymar will help propel the club back to Champions League glory. Real Madrid are determined to keep their focus on Paul Pogba.

Miguel Delaney of The Independent reported today that Barca are exploring an option to loan Neymar this year, with a transfer fee paid over a bunch of years heading into 2020.

(I apologise that The Independent’s online set is essentially unreadable.)

It’s unknown if PSG would be willing to do so a deal. But given how much of a distraction the Neymar nonsense has become it would make some sense.

Dybala to PSG

PSG’s biggest hang-up: Landing a replacement. The number one target appears to be Paulo Dybala, who turned down a pair of moves to the Premier League prior to the closing of the English transfer window.

Dybala appears keen on the move, and Juve are clearly willing to sell.

Icardi to Juventus

A Juve sale will likely be dependent on them landing their own replacement. That replacement is Mauro Icardi.

Icardi’s on-again-off-again saga has been just as draining as Neymar’s. The latest news appears to be that Roma (Dzeko-plus-cash deal) and Napoli (cash-plus-Player-X) are in the driver’s seat. But if Piemonte Calcio is able to raise funds by shipping out Dybala, they might be able to meet Inter’s price tag – reportedly reduced from £70-80 million to £60 million.

Dzeko to Inter

Dzeko remains Antonio Conte’s primary target. Icardi would be out the door if someone met his valuation. Adding Dzeko might grease the wheels, though, and reduce the overall fee, whether that’s as part of a Roma swap deal or because Inter are simply willing to cut bait at a reduced rate once they’ve landed their top remaining target.

Higuain to Roma

Would Roma let Dzeko go unless it’s for £30 million in straight cash, though? Probably. But not definitely. What Roma decide could be tied back to PSG’s initial decision to let Neymar leave. If they’re able to Higuain on a wink-wink deal with Juve it could be best for all five parties involved. Undoubtedly Roma would be getting the weaker part of this deal, but they also have the least leverage.