Neymar next? Bartomeu hints at more Barcelona signings after Junior Firpo deal

By Sports Desk August 04, 2019

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says more signings are anticipated before the close of the LaLiga transfer window as speculation over a bid for Neymar continues.

The Spanish champions secured the arrival of Junior Firpo from Real Betis on Sunday in a deal that could be worth €30million.

Barca have spent upwards of €230m on new players in 2019, with Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, Neto and Emerson among those to arrive in the close season.

They are reportedly in negotiations for the season-long loan of Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, who is pushing to leave the Ligue 1 champions just two years on from his world-record €222m move from Barca.

Such a deal, that would likely include an option to buy in 2020, would help Barca balance their spending while negating the need to sell several first-team players before the window closes on September 2.

Bartomeu thinks more arrivals at Camp Nou are certainly possible in the coming weeks.

"We have a stronger squad, with more potential," he said.

"There are still several weeks left for the market to close and we could have more incomings.

"We have an ambitious and incredible squad, led by the best player in the world and in history, Leo Messi."

Neymar watched on as PSG beat Rennes 2-1 in Shenzhen to win the Trophee des Champions for the seventh year in a row.

The Brazil international was dragged into medal celebrations by Marco Verratti and appeared in good spirits, despite PSG sporting director Leonardo confirming last month the player wants to leave.

There was then a moment of controversy when Kylian Mbappe, who scored PSG's first goal, appeared to push Neymar out of the way as the team celebrated with the trophy in front of photographers on the pitch.

Related items

  • Barkley exit ruled out by Lampard as Loftus-Cheek steps up recovery Barkley exit ruled out by Lampard as Loftus-Cheek steps up recovery

    Frank Lampard has ruled out a January exit from Chelsea for Ross Barkley, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is taking positive steps in his return to fitness.

    Barkley was a regular for Maurizio Sarri last season but has made just six Premier League starts under Lampard, though a foot injury suffered in October ruled him out for almost two months.

    A reunion with David Moyes, who handed him his top-flight debut at Everton in 2011, at West Ham had been touted, but the Blues boss was adamant the England international will not be leaving.

    "There's no talk here of Ross Barkley going anywhere. He's our player. I've got a lot of faith in Ross. That's news I heard like everyone else this week," said Lampard.

    Asked about other potential departures, Lampard said there has been no movement on a deal for Olivier Giroud, who is reportedly a target for Newcastle United – Chelsea's opponents on Saturday – Aston Villa and Inter, while Willian will be staying put and could extend his contract beyond this season.

    "Olivier Giroud there may be something that can happen. He's experienced and I have a great relationship with him. If the circumstances fall right it might happen.

    "Willian is not going anywhere. His contract is up at the end of the season but he's still in talks with the club."

    Lampard remains open to potential incomings at Stamford Bridge but assured there was "nothing imminent".

    However, his squad could be bolstered after the February break with Loftus-Cheek stepping up his recovery from an Achilles rupture that has ruled him out since May.

    "He's training now with the Under-16s, Under-18s and then the Under-23s in a short space of time, which is good for us. The sooner he can be back with us the better," said Lampard.

    "We're working in every way. There's a different look on his face, more smiley and happy. It's been tough. He's not one that's walked around head down creating a negative atmosphere, but it's a lonely place.

    "He's integrating more towards us now. It can be forgotten we've missed a hugely influential player. If he can be training with us after the break he might not be far away."

    Lampard added that Christian Pulisic is in line to return from a groin problem next month.

  • Ramos is a reference for Madrid - Zidane Ramos is a reference for Madrid - Zidane

    Zinedine Zidane hailed Sergio Ramos as an example to everyone at Real Madrid after the captain made an unexpected bid to feature against Sevilla in LaLiga on Saturday.

    Ramos dispatched the winning penalty as Madrid claimed the Supercopa de Espana at the expense of rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend.

    But the 33-year-old defender suffered a sprained ankle during the game and was expected to spend a spell on the sidelines until he emerged for training at Valdebebas on Friday.

    "We know the character that Sergio has," Zidane told a pre-match news conference. "He always wants to play. He's done everything possible this week to be available and to be ready.

    "He is a great example to the rest of the team. He's our reference for everyone at this club and an example everyone should follow."

    Ramos' centre-back partner Raphael Varane is in line to make a landmark 300th appearance in Madrid colours this weekend.

    Zidane first took charge of his countryman, who joined the 13-time European champion from Lens in 2011, when he featured in the club's youth categories.

    "I knew the potential he had when he came, I knew he could play a lot of games for us," he said,

    "But, in eight years, 300 games is not something that everyone can get to.

    "I hope he can play another 300 – at least another 100!"

    Behind Ramos and Varane, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is enjoying a strong run of form, with his performance in the Supercopa final standing in stark contrast to some of the struggles he experienced after joining from Chelsea before the start of last season.

    "I think he's proven since the day he came that he's a great goalkeeper. He's always been a part of the group of the best goalkeepers in the world," Zidane added.

    "He's had some difficult moments, of course. He's known how to overcome these difficult moments and he knows the level that he's got.

    "With a lot of hard work he's been able to bring himself up to this level and we're very happy for him."

  • One-game ban for Real Madrid midfielder Valverde no surprise to Simeone One-game ban for Real Madrid midfielder Valverde no surprise to Simeone

    Diego Simeone fully expected Federico Valverde to be given only a short suspension following his crucial foul on Alvaro Morata in the Supercopa de Espana final.

    With the score 0-0 in the final five minutes of extra time in Jeddah, Atletico Madrid's Morata raced through on goal only for Valverde to bring down the striker to halt his progress.

    Valverde, who was later named man of the match, was sent off for the deliberate foul but went on to celebrate when Real Madrid won the penalty shoot-out 4-1.

    Simeone had few qualms with the challenge at the time, insisting he would likely have done the same to win the match, and the Atleti boss was also not surprised to see Valverde earn only a one-game ban.

    "I was clear after the match, saying that was what he had to do," Simeone said on Friday ahead of a LaLiga trip to Eibar. "I was also clear about what would happen.

    "It doesn't make sense to wear myself out today on something that we already knew would happen. That's why I'm focusing on Eibar.

    "We're in the middle of the season and there's still a lot of work ahead. There are things to improve. We worked well until September, then things were more difficult in November.

    "Then we grew and we kept that up in the Supercopa. We're competing well and I'm proud to have competed well against a team like Real Madrid that is powerful in all senses."

    The Supercopa final was another difficult game for €126million forward Joao Felix, but Simeone insists the Portugal international is learning all the time.

    "The Supercopa was another step forward in the experience of a 20-year-old boy with incredible talent and skill. This road he's walking will be useful for the future," Simeone said.

    "We believe in him; we need his skills. He has the ability to score. We hope that these experiences he's living in this new team help him to get stronger and grow day after day.

    "We're the ones in charge to find their better version and find the better position so they can unlock their potential. I don't do things differently with Joao than with [Renan] Lodi, [Hector] Herrera, Koke or Saul [Niguez].

    "We always try to do the best so players with that potential can put it to good use for the club and the team, so we're working with him and Lodi, the younger ones, so they can grow."

    This weekend is the first round of LaLiga matches since Ernesto Valverde was sacked as Barcelona head coach in the wake of their 3-2 Supercopa semi-final loss to Atleti.

    "I'm not the one to give an opinion about what happens to others," Simeone said. "Valverde is a really great coach. He left his team in first place in the league and still alive in the Champions League.

    "He is a great person and has always been polite and exemplary as he managed the situation."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.