Which Barcelona players could be PSG-bound to sweeten potential Neymar deal?

By Sports Desk August 27, 2019

Barcelona's pursuit of Neymar has become the saga of the transfer window in Spain and they are rumoured to have met with Paris Saint-Germain for negotiations on Tuesday.

Neymar left Barca in a world-record €222million move two years ago and, although the Brazilian has generally impressed on the pitch with 34 Ligue 1 goals and 20 assists in just 37 matches, it has not been a happy marriage.

The player's attitude has not helped endear himself to the club's hierarchy nor supporters, as he has been regularly flirting with other clubs and engaged in public disagreements with Edinson Cavani.

PSG have seemingly run out of patience with him, confirming they are happy to sell the Brazilian for the right price, with the transfer deadline on September 2 looming.

But with Barca understood to be unable to reach the desired fee – reportedly in the region of the €222m PSG paid in 2017 – several players have been suggested as potential makeweights…

Ousmane Dembele

Signed from Borussia Dortmund as part of the initial splurge after Neymar's departure, Dembele's time at Barca has been curious. While few doubt his ability and potential, the French winger has missed a frustrating amount of games through injury at Camp Nou, while various stories in the media have suggested the 22-year-old isn't as professional as he should be. The latest transfer rumours claim Barca have offered €170m plus Dembele for Neymar – and they might not get a better bid, as the winger would be a like-for-like replacement. Similarly, if Neymar signs and Dembele stays, he could be the main victim of the Brazilian's arrival.

Ivan Rakitic

A Barca regular over the past five years, Rakitic's popularity among fans has steadily declined. While some supporters suggest that's down to him being a somewhat conservative midfielder, from the outside it seems the Croatian is being castigated for a lack of "Barca DNA". According to Sport, PSG were "delighted" at the prospect of getting Rakitic in the deal, understandably given a lack of midfield depth. He could fill a similar box-to-box role like at Barca or be pushed further forward, a position in which he thrived previously at Sevilla.

Nelson Semedo

Now into his third season at Barca, the Portugal international has slowly won fans – and Ernesto Valverde – over. The 25-year-old appears to have ousted the maligned Sergi Roberto at right-back, with Semedo's far superior attacking attributes suggesting he could yet be the Dani Alves heir Barca have been searching for. Le Parisien claimed PSG want Semedo as part of any deal to compete with – and likely usurp – Thomas Meunier.

Samuel Umtiti

Spending €25m on Umtiti in 2016 initially looked a masterstroke by Barca and he has generally impressed when in action. But injuries have wreaked havoc on him and he now finds himself behind compatriot Clement Lenglet in the pecking order. Links with PSG have gone quiet in recent times due to their strong collection of centre-backs and he would likely struggle to dislodge Thiago Silva, Marquinhos or Abdou Diallo when he returns from injury.

 

Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

The curveball on the list. While it has been claimed Neymar only wants to join Barca, it's difficult to imagining him rejecting Madrid if it came to a choice between Los Blancos and PSG. However, for that to happen, AS believe the Ligue 1 champions will only accept a deal involving Vinicius. The 19-year-old looked a thrilling prospect in his debut campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu and would be about as close to Neymar – stylistically and positionally – as PSG can possibly get. How he may cope with the pressure of being his compatriot's replacement is another matter, however.

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