A host of European clubs have declared their interest in the 21 year old forward, Neymar. The reason why he hasn’t moved to Europe already is the transfer fee set by his current club, Santos.
In the recent weeks, Neymar has been linked with Barcelona more than ever before. The Catalans have been tied with him since he gained worldwide fame at the young age of 17. There have been other clubs in contention as well, with Real Madrid close to signing him when he was just 14 years old.
Earlier this week, we heard the Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, speak about the Brazil international where he confirmed that Barca will pursue Neymar in the coming transfer window.
This Thursday, Santos coach Muricy Ramalho spoke to the press where he made it clear that he had no doubts about Neymar’s future destination. He couldn’t put a date on it but he said Nou Camp is where he will go. He said:
“I don’t know if it´ll be now or later, but I think that Neymar will play for Barcelona. If he goes abroad it has to be to Barcelona, because they have a similar playing style.
“If we have to choose a future for Neymar, I think it´s with them.”
Ramalho believes that there is a place for Neymar in the Barcelona squad. Apart from Lionel Messi, Barca have not played anyone in the striking role. There is David Villa but neither Pep Guardiola nor Tito Vilanova have played him in that role. Guardiola brought in Alexis Sanchez, thinking he has that something special but so far he has not been able to deliver.
So, Ramalho got that right; Barcelona needs a striker. He added further:
“There have always been great Brazilian forwards in Barça, and that´s why I think that Neymar over there would continue that legacy. Ronaldo, Romario and Rivaldo have worn the Barça shirt, and are the best in the world.
“Neymar has to go to follow in their footsteps. He will be one of the Barcelona greats just as Ronaldo, Romario and Rivaldo were.”
The big Ronaldo will seem like a bad example for the Cules as he spent one season at Barcelona – it was exceptional nonetheless. But after a five-year stay at Inter Milan, he returned to Spain to Real Madrid and won the La Liga in a season where Barca finished sixth.
Anyhow, from Ramalho’s statements, it seems either a pre-deal has gone through between the two clubs or all the other potential buyers have pulled out and Barcelona is Santos’ only remaining option.
Ramalho’s statements contradict from the statements Brazil’s national team coach made. Luiz Felipe Scolari is of the opinion that Neymar would not get as much playing time at Barcelona and that he is better off at Santos for now.
Scolari, who entered his second stint as Selecao coach, said:
“Neymar should have gone to Barca two years ago, but now it is better that he stays at Santos.
“How would he adapt? Would he be by himself? Would he start games? Would he play in this star-studded Barcelona team?
For the World Cup of 2014 and for Brazil, it is preferable that he does not go right now.”
As much as it matters what Neymar’s coaches have to say about his future, it matters just as much – if not more – what the kid wants for himself. The 21 year old has been linked with both Barcelona and Real Madrid and he has also attracted interest from Bayern Munich.
Although, he admitted that he admires of Barca’s tiki-taka style of play, Neymar told radio show El Partido de las 12:
“I don’t have any preference. Barcelona and Real Madrid are two great clubs, each one with their own history.
“Barcelona have scared everyone over the past few years with their football and are without doubt one of the best teams in the world.
“It is a dream to play in Europe. I don’t know when it will be. It is a decision that will be down to me and I will communicate it when I have decided.”
No agreements have surfaced yet but if these reports are to be believed, it seems more and more likely that Barcelona are inching closer to signing the Brazilian prodigy. Unless, of course, someone like Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho can make him an offer he can’t refuse.