Zone Blitz: Are Barcelona doing the right thing by trying to re-sign Neymar?

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharack&Lance Whittaker July 18, 2019

It's said you should never go back to your ex but Barcelona and Neymar could be a re-marriage made in heaven.

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  • Dembele 'not at all threatened' by potential Neymar return to Barcelona Dembele 'not at all threatened' by potential Neymar return to Barcelona

    Ousmane Dembele "doesn't feel at all threatened" by the possibility of Neymar going back to Barcelona, the forward's agent has said.

    Speculation persists over Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain, with the latest reports saying Barca have had a bid of a two-year loan with an option to buy rejected by the Ligue 1 champions.

    Should the Brazil star secure a return to Camp Nou, though, it is likely to leave Dembele's position in the first team unclear, with the France international struggling for consistency and fitness since his move from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in 2017.

    However, his representative, Moussa Sissoko, says Neymar's future will have no impact on Dembele's determination to succeed with the Spanish champions.

    "When you are a high-level sportsman, you have to accept that you are praised but also subjected to criticism," he told RMC Sport. "[Dembele] is focused on his goals, and he knows what he has to do in order to succeed at Barca.

    "He doesn't feel at all threatened. When you play for Barca, you expect there to be competition. Neymar or anyone else - he does not care about that and [only] cares about what he has to do."

    Sissoko says there has been interest in Dembele but that all those clubs, PSG included, have been told the player has no desire for a transfer.

    "We received notice of interest from big clubs," he said. "But we were clear on the fact that he did not want to leave. I told them from the start that he wants to succeed at Barcelona. The door is closed, and Paris or any other club are aware of our intentions.

    "In our plans, he wants to stay and all his work is towards that. We are working on that."

    Dembele was diagnosed with a hamstring injury this week that is likely to keep him out for over a month, furthering suggestions his lifestyle is hampering his fitness and professional development.

    His former chef told Le Parisien on Wednesday: "Ousmane is a good guy but he doesn't have control of his life. He lives with his uncle and his best friend, who don't dare say anything to him. It's a crazy life.

    "I've never seen him drink alcohol but he doesn't respect his rest times, there's no professional structure around him."

    However, when asked about those comments, Sissoko said: "I do not want to give an advertisement to the chef who criticised him. Ousmane chose him, and it's me who stopped working with him, because he didn't correspond to what we wanted."

  • Messi returns to full training with Barcelona Messi returns to full training with Barcelona

    Lionel Messi returned to full training with Barcelona on Wednesday as he nears a comeback from a calf injury.

    The 32-year-old missed the whole of Barca's pre-season programme and was not part of their squad for the 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao on the opening day of the LaLiga season.

    Messi – whose last competitive outing was for Argentina in the Copa America third-place play-off victory over Chile, a match in which he was controversially sent off – has been doing solo exercises to build up his fitness and sat out the LaLiga champions' first training session on Wednesday but was pictured with the rest of his team-mates later in the day.

    Barca head coach Ernesto Valverde may now consider the Argentina international for selection against Real Betis on Sunday, with Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez already ruled out.

    Dembele will miss the next five weeks with a hamstring injury and Suarez is out for an indefinite period after injuring his right calf in the shock defeat to Athletic.

  • Rumour Has It: PSG not interested in Barcelona's loan bid for Neymar Rumour Has It: PSG not interested in Barcelona's loan bid for Neymar

    Barcelona are officially making a move for Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain are set to reject their offer.

    The Neymar saga is seemingly no closer to ending as the Brazil star looks to leave the Ligue 1 champions before the transfer window closes on September 2.

    Barca are set to at least make a bid as they aim to get a deal done for their former star, but it will be rejected.

     

    TOP STORY – PSG TO REJECT BARCELONA'S LOAN BID FOR NEYMAR

    PSG have no interest in initially loaning Neymar to Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

    It was reported the bid from LaLiga's champions would be for a temporary move, but PSG want an outright transfer so they can find a replacement for the forward, amid reported interest in Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala.

    Barcelona are willing to accept a purchase option if €160million can be paid in instalments, according to Sport.

    Meanwhile, the cover of Marca says Neymar is entering "Zone Florentino", referencing Real Madrid president Perez as Barca's rivals maintain hope of signing the 27-year-old.

    ROUND-UP

    - There could be plenty of movement at Barcelona late in the window. Juventus are discussing a potential swap deal to land Ivan Rakitic and see Emre Can head to Camp Nou, according to Tuttosport, which says the Catalans also put Luis Suarez on the table.

    - One midfielder not leaving Turin is Blaise Matuidi. RMC Sport reports the France international will stay at Juventus amid links to PSG and Bayern Munich, with Can seemingly more likely to depart the Serie A champions.

    - Mariano Diaz's future is uncertain. AS claims Mariano is not in Real Madrid's plans for this season, but no club has come close to meeting a €20m valuation of the forward.

    - Franck Ribery is set to become a Fiorentina player. The former Bayern Munich star has agreed to a deal with the Serie A club, according to Sport Bild and Gianluca Di Marzio, with the Frenchman set to sign on Thursday.

    - Amid reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, Jadon Sancho is said to be re-signing with Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old England international has sealed a £190,000-per-week long-term deal with Dortmund, according to the Daily Mail.

    - Michy Batshuayi is not ready to give up on his Chelsea career. The Belgium striker wants to stay and fight for a place in Frank Lampard's team, according to the Evening Standard.

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