Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal says a bid to bring Neymar back to Catalonia is "not impossible".

Neymar left Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain in acrimonious circumstances in August 2017 for a world record fee of €222 million but suggestions of a return have lingered ever since.

The Brazil star's time in France has not always been easy with injuries and off-field issues blighting his bid to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world's best player.

But he, along with Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, are seemingly on Barca's wish-list.

Abidal told El Mundo Deportivo: "It depends on planning, passports and many things.

"The important thing for me is the sporting aspect, trying to have a stronger team to reach our goals as a club.

"But having talented players like Lautaro, Neymar or others would always be good for the club.

"I don't see it as impossible. We will try to work for that."

It has been reported that Neymar has a clause in his contract that would enable him to leave the Parc des Princes for €170m at the end of the season.

"It gives you a price, but the price would be the same for all clubs. not just Barca," added Abidal, whose public exchange of views with Lionel Messi over Ernesto Valverde's exit means he may not be in the job long enough to oversee summer recruitment.

"The decision is always that of the player.

"If we can do that signing it would be good but we're always thinking that Barca has the philosophy of seeing what happens in the B team and youth teams.

"We always take into account what is already here when we do our planning."

Eric Abidal's interview tipped Lionel Messi over the edge.

Normally quiet, especially on social media, Messi used Instagram to hit out at Barcelona director of football Abidal, who had earlier suggested some players were not working hard enough prior to Ernesto Valverde's sacking.

Barca superstar Messi is reportedly unhappy with how things are unfolding at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI TIRED OF BEING BARCA SCAPEGOAT

Lionel Messi is tired of being held responsible for everything that happens at Barcelona amid doubts over his future, according to COPE and Marca.

Contracted until 2021, captain and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi snapped back at Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal for bad-mouthing players at the club as he discussed Ernesto Valverde's exit.

It comes amid discontent towards the board and Barca's struggles on the pitch.

Clubs in China, the United States and the Middle East would all be interested should the Argentine opt for a change of scenery.

 

ROUND-UP

- Has Paul Pogba played his last game for Manchester United? The Red Devils are resigned to losing Pogba at the end of the season, reports The Mirror. Linked to Real Madrid and former club Juventus, Pogba has not featured since December due to an ongoing ankle problem.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United will prioritise signing Aston Villa star Jack Grealish as fellow midfield target James Maddison nears a new deal with Leicester City.

Atletico Madrid will consider Mauricio Pochettino as their next head coach if they move on from Diego Simeone, reports the Telegraph. Pochettino continues to be linked with United, who are struggling under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

- Standard Sport claims Chelsea will sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele at the end of the season after failing to land the Frenchman in January.

- Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes is a target for Arsenal, reports The Sun. Arsenal enquired about the 22-year-old Brazilian's availability last month.

Milan snubbed the chance to sign Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic in January, says Calciomercato. Matic is out of contract at season's end but is open to extending his time in Manchester.

Parma have ordered Gervinho to train alone until further notice following his failed attempt to force through a move to Al Sadd.

The former Arsenal forward chose not to attend training last week as he tried to secure a transfer to Xavi's side for a reported €5million fee.

The Ivory Coast international appeared set to make the move, but the transfer was not ratified before the Serie A deadline on January 31.

The 32-year-old will have to stay at Parma for the rest of the season, but he appears to be facing a fight to regain his place in the first team.

A club statement released on Tuesday said: "After unjustifiably missing training repeatedly last week, Parma can confirm that Gervinho will follow an individual training plan under the orders of the club's technical staff until a further announcement is made."

Gervinho has made 17 league appearances this season, scoring four goals and providing three assists.

Parma, who face Lazio on Sunday, are seventh in the Serie A table after 22 matches.

Bayern Munich failed with a late bid to sign Dani Olmo from Dinamo Zagreb, according to the Croatian club's sporting director Zoran Mamic.

Spain international Olmo joined RB Leipzig during the transfer window for a reported initial fee of €20million.

According to Mamic, the deal, which includes bonuses and a 20 per cent sell-on clause, represents "by far" the biggest sale in Dinamo's history.

However, Mamic claims they could have held out for even more had they ignored the forward's wishes and accepted a late offer from Bayern.

"Dani didn't want to go to Italy or England," he told Sportske Novosti. "He insisted on Leipzig.

"If we had had more time, he would have ended up at Bayern.

"We could certainly have got more out of the deal, but it wasn't just our decision. We could have said to Dani that we didn't accept the offer from Leipzig, but that wouldn't have been fair to him."

Having missed out on Olmo, Bayern have reportedly turned their attentions towards a bid for Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz with a view to a transfer at the end of the season.

The 20-year-old, who is said to be admired by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, could cost as much as €130m according to reports in Germany.

Former Bayern midfielder Michael Ballack is not convinced Havertz is ready for such a step, though.

"At Bayern, you need other characteristics to assert yourself. Just being good is not enough there," he told Sport1.

"He needs time and the robustness to be prepared mentally for Bayern. He is still in the development phase and there are still mistakes in his game."

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic could make a surprise move to Atletico Madrid ahead of next season.

The Croatia international is reportedly unhappy at Camp Nou and has been linked with a move away since the off-season.

Now, a stay in LaLiga could eventuate, but away from Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO BEGIN TALKS WITH BARCELONA'S RAKITIC

Atletico Madrid are already negotiating with Rakitic about a possible move at the end of the season, according to Cadena SER.

The 31-year-old is contracted at Barcelona, where he arrived from Sevilla in 2014, until 2021.

Rakitic admitted on Sunday he considered leaving the club in January, and it seems a move is likely come season's end.

ROUND-UP

- Amid reported interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, James Maddison is close to agreeing a new contract with Leicester City, according to The Telegraph. Maddison has starred for the Premier League club this season and is poised to sign a lucrative long-term deal.

- Frank Lampard is set to face a battle at Chelsea. The Mirror reports the head coach wants to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga – who became the world's most expensive goalkeeper when he arrived at Stamford Bridge from Athletic Bilbao for a reported £71.6million (€80m) in 2018 – but is set to face resistance from the board.

- Atletico Madrid and Roma are interested in Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard, according to ESPN. Lingard is coming out of contract in 2021 but also holds a one-year extension option at Old Trafford.

- Are Milan set for another coaching change? Bild reports Red Bull's head of international relations and scouting, Ralf Rangnick, is in advanced talks to become the Serie A club's head coach and sporting director once the season is over. Stefano Pioli only took charge of Milan in October, replacing Marco Giampaolo.

- Inter almost signed Islam Slimani, who is on loan at Monaco from Leicester City, last month, according to CalcioMercato, which reports the Serie A club's move came late in January before collapsing.

Timo Werner is open to a move to the Premier League or LaLiga when the time comes for him to leave RB Leipzig.

Germany international Werner was expected to join Bayern Munich ahead of the 2019-20 as he entered the final year of his contract, but a switch did not materialise and he instead signed a new four-year deal with Leipzig.

The 23-year-old continues to be linked with English giants Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea as well as Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Werner has scored 25 goals in 28 games in all competitions for Leipzig this season and is happy with how things are going at the Red Bull Arena.

However, the striker is not ruling out testing himself overseas in the future.

"I can imagine playing abroad at some point, but there's no specific place will go. I'm open to everything," Werner told Kicker.

"When I was on holiday in America, English football was on all the time. But there also very well-known and big teams in Spain where it would for sure be fun to play.

"When you have scored 20 goals this season so far at the age of 23, you obviously attract interest. That's clear. But at the moment, I'm not thinking about what will happen in the future.

"We are now facing important matches that will be decisive for the rest of the season. That's what I want to concentrate on. I'll think about my future at a later point in time."

He added: "What do you say if in two weeks a club that is a contender for winning the Champions League wants to sign someone and makes a great offer? Every player would think about it.

"In my opinion, career planning is always relative. It comes how it comes – and then you have to deal with it at the right time."

There was "no chance" of Gareth Bale joining Tottenham in the January transfer window, according to his agent Jonathan Barnett, who does not think his client will ever return to the north London club.

Bale has been a peripheral figure under Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane in recent weeks and was not included in the matchday squad for the weekend derby win over Atletico Madrid.

His omission came a day after the transfer window closed with the Welshman still at the Santiago Bernabeu, quashing talk of a move back to Spurs.

Asked if Jose Mourinho's men were ever an option, Barnett told talkSPORT: "No.

"Gareth still believes there is a future for him at Real Madrid.

"He has two and a half years left on his contract, he has a wife and three children who are very happy and settled. Fortunately, he can pick and choose where he plays.

"And let's be realistic, for most clubs he's out of their league, financially. It's easy for people to say 'give up the money and play somewhere else' but it's not always about money. He's happy in Madrid and his kids have grown up there, his family are settled."

On whether a move back to Spurs may be an option in 2022, Barnett added: "I don't think so, no.

"When his contract is up, he will sit down and decide what he wants to do."

Bale's situation continues to create debate with Madrid fans mystified as to why a player for whom the club paid a then-record £85million in 2013 is sidelined at a time when Eden Hazard remains absent through injury.

Barnett added: "A lot has been said by people that don't know what's going on. You get articles, comments from people who have no idea what they are talking about.

"I've had conversations and we've been told that he's still a very important part of Madrid. 

"The only people who know what's going on are Zinedine Zidane, Gareth and probably the president of Madrid and they're all very happy with the situation."

On the criticism Bale gets, Barnett said: "He doesn't read it, most sports people don't read the press. 

"In Madrid a lot of bad journalism takes place, they're very biased, they write whatever they like.

"The fans have booed Zidane, they've booed [Cristiano] Ronaldo and other great players, but Gareth has given the club a lot. As he doesn't do press, he doesn't give a lot of interviews and he's a quiet person he's become a sitting target for them.

"The British press [are no better]. Gareth is probably, if not the number one, one of the top two or three players to have come out of Britain.

"Instead of building him up, all they look for is the bad things."

Kylian Mbappe appears unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are continuing to track the forward.

Mbappe was unhappy with head coach Thomas Tuchel after being substituted during PSG's 5-0 Ligue 1 win over Montpellier on Saturday.

The pair were apparently part of talks that seemingly did not go that well on Sunday, once again sparking Madrid's interest.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE MBAPPE AMID PSG TROUBLES

Real Madrid are tracking the situation of Kylian Mbappe at PSG, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The France international is out of contract in 2022 and Madrid would hope to land the forward for less than €300million next year.

Le Parisien reports Mbappe, Tuchel and PSG sporting director Leonardo met on Sunday, but the relationship between coach and player may be at the point of no return.

ROUND-UP

- Lautaro Martinez has starred for Inter this season, scoring 11 Serie A goals. Corriere dello Sport reports the Italian giants are keen to offer Martinez an improved contract amid reported interest from Barcelona, with the Argentina international's deal expiring in 2023.

- Despite scoring only four Serie A goals this campaign, Lorenzo Insigne could be set to earn a new deal at Napoli. Corriere dello Sport says the forward is set for talks over a contract extension, with his deal set to expire in 2022.

- Lille forward Victor Osimhen is attracting interest from LaLiga's two biggest clubs. The 21-year-old is already up to 16 goals this season and Lille were contacted by Real Madrid and Barcelona at the end of the January transfer window, according to Le10sport.

- Christian Eriksen apparently could have ended up at Juventus. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A leaders were seriously considering the midfielder in December before they landed Dejan Kulusevski, leading to Inter making their move for the Tottenham star.

Ivan Rakitic admitted he considered leaving LaLiga champions Barcelona in January as the midfielder appeared to take aim at the club's board.

Rakitic was heavily linked to Serie A duo Juventus and Inter before the transfer window closed, while Manchester United were also reportedly interested.

It came as Rakitic was reportedly offered to Paris Saint-Germain as part of a deal to prise Neymar back to Camp Nou at the start of the season.

After Sunday's 2-1 win over Levante, Croatia veteran Rakitic vented his frustration.

"I thought about leaving in the January window," Rakitic, who played the entire game, said post-match.

"The treatment of [former head coach Ernesto] Valverde's staff wasn't the best.

"They were bad times but it's in the past now.

"I can say very clearly that there were things that I didn't like."

Ansu Fati's brace ensured Barca stayed within three points of leaders and rivals Real Madrid after 22 matches.

Rakitic has made 16 LaLiga appearances this season, and 24 across all competitions.

Manchester United loanee Odion Ighalo described joining the Red Devils as a "dream come true" following his deadline-day switch.

United completed a shock loan deal for Shanghai Shenhua striker Ighalo on Friday, with the 30-year-old joining until the end of the Premier League season.

With injured star forward Marcus Rashford facing at least two months on the sidelines, United turned to Ighalo, who scored 10 goals for Chinese Super League side Shenhua last term.

"It's a dream come true because since I was a kid I followed and dreamt of Manchester United," former Watford striker Ighalo told Sky Sports News.

"But it is a reality now. I cannot say much more now until I get started."

Ighalo, who was linked to United during former boss Louis van Gaal's tenure after scoring 40 goals from 100 appearances across all competitions for Watford, has starred in China.

After netting 36 times in all competitions in two seasons with Chinese side Changchun Yatai, Nigeria international Ighalo left for Shenhua in 2019.

"It's been crazy. Obviously, I am happy to be in Manchester first of all," he said. "This is a great opportunity for me and I am grateful to God, and to my agent, and the coach who has given me this opportunity to be here.

"I am happy to be here and to work out with the team and finish very well this season. The plan is to just chill today because I travelled a very long way from Shanghai to Manchester. Today is to just rest and tomorrow we start to work."

United drew 0-0 at home to Wolves on Saturday and have no drawn in blank in their past three top-flight outings. 

After the mid-season break, seventh-placed United – six points adrift of the Champions League places – travel to rivals Chelsea on February 17.

Liverpool might be cruising towards the title but the runaway Premier League leaders could still face a crucial fight in the near future.

According to a new report, star centre-back Virgil van Dijk has become a top target for Italian giants Juventus.

Could a record-breaking transfer to Turin appeal to the Netherlands international?

 

TOP STORY – JUVE SET SIGHTS ON VAN DIJK

Maurizio Sarri's Juve have identified Reds defender Van Dijk as the man to help achieve their Champions League dream, according to The Sun.

The Bianconeri are said to be preparing a €178.5million (£150m) offer that could force Liverpool to consider parting company with the 28-year-old, who swapped Southampton for Merseyside in a £75m move in January 2018.

The report claims Van Dijk "may be open to a move abroad" if he wins the Premier League this term, which now appears a mere formality.

The proposed fee would eclipse the £80m that saw Harry Maguire leave Leicester City for Manchester United and again make Van Dijk the world's most expensive player in his position.

 

ROUND-UP 

- After signing Maguire, the Red Devils appear to be pining for another expensive defender. The Daily Star suggests the club will ramp up their attempts to capture Kalidou Koulibaly in the close season - although the Napoli centre-back could cost up to £90m.

- Arsenal rejected a deadline-day approach for Mesut Ozil from an unnamed Qatar club, the Mirror states. Ozil, 31, reportedly "would have been willing to listen" to an offer, but the contact came too late for the Gunners to arrange a replacement.

- LaLiga leaders Real Madrid considered signing teenage attacker Amine Gouiri and contacted Lyon before deciding against lodging a formal January bid, according to L'Equipe.

- Their title rivals Barcelona are close to agreeing a deal that will see Chelsea winger Willian arrive on a free at season's end, reports Marca.

- Gouiri is not the only Lyon youngster attracting interest. Milan, already planning for next season, are monitoring the Ligue 1 club's promising right-back Pierre Kalulu, claims CalcioMercato.

Quique Setien declared Neymar's interest in a Camp Nou comeback to be good news as the Barcelona boss detailed his desire to keep Lionel Messi happy.

Brazil international Neymar attempted to engineer a return to his former employers last year and, though seemingly now fully committed to Paris Saint-Germain, his future could still lay in LaLiga.

Barca have been tipped to reignite negotiations further down the line and their new head coach would welcome the star forward's arrival.

"That's good," Setien told Mundo Deportivo when asked about Neymar's desire for a second Barca stint.

"I love to watch and have great footballers and if I can watch Neymar every day, just imagine."

Barca captain Messi was among those pushing hardest for his former team-mate's return, admitting he would have "loved" the transfer to go ahead.

The 32-year-old claimed "some people were against" moving for Neymar despite the boost he could have given in their pursuit of yet more trophies.

Setien is hopeful the mercurial Messi continues to feel enthusiastic about life in Catalonia, with his contract due to expire next year.

"I hope we make him so happy that he is looking forward to staying," the Blaugrana boss said in a separate interview with Sport. "He will be here in the future, I have no doubts.

"The talks have been very normal as with any other player. He is very convinced that we can win. He is perceived to be a winner and cares that things are done well.

"He takes interest in the talks. He knows he is an important part, one that can solve many games, but we have to rely on the team to be stronger."

Barca, second behind Real Madrid in LaLiga, host Levante on Sunday.

How close did Gareth Bale come to reuniting with Tottenham on transfer deadline day?

According to reports, the Premier League club went so far as to send representatives to Spain in an audacious attempt to lure the Wales international back to north London.

But even Jose Mourinho's backing could not force the deal over the line on Friday.

 

TOP STORY - SPURS INVESTIGATED AUDACIOUS BALE BID

Tottenham's interest in re-signing Bale prompted chairman Daniel Levy to skip across Europe for talks with Real Madrid counterpart Florentino Perez, according to the Times.

Spurs reportedly believed a "breakthrough" had been made in the hours before the window closed and had "growing confidence" a deal could be agreed.

But, per the Daily Mail, Bale's reluctance to take a pay cut on his £600,000-per-week wages meant negotiations came unstuck.

The report claims head coach Mourinho was "fully behind" the ultimately fruitless attempt to pull off what would have been a statement of intent.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham's near misses did not end with Bale. Sky Sports say Spurs and Antonio Conte's Inter attempted to sign Odion Ighalo before the Nigerian striker sealed his last-gasp loan switch to Manchester United.

- Serie A champions Juventus are certain to maintain their interest in United star Paul Pogba and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, claims CalcioMercato.

- Arsenal made two January additions but boss Mikel Arteta still wants a holding midfielder to arrive before next season, reports The Athletic.

- Crystal Palace called off their deal for Nathan Ferguson after the West Brom defender's medical revealed a knee issue, according to the Evening Standard.

- MLS expansion side Nashville are set to capture West Ham defender Winston Reid on a six-month loan, reports the New Zealand Herald.

The January transfer window closed on Friday, but not every wantaway star got their move.

While a number of Europe's top sides were in the hunt for attacking reinforcements, deals could not be completed for several big names.

We take a look at a selection of forwards who were not on the move and analyse what the future could hold for them.

EDINSON CAVANI

Cavani's on-off transfer from Paris Saint-Germain to Atletico Madrid was only finally ruled out on Thursday, leaving the Ligue 1 club's record goalscorer at the Parc des Princes despite reported interest from the Premier League's big-hitters.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel reminded Cavani "there are worse situations than staying" in the French capital, but with his contract up at the end of the season, he may not be around for too much longer.

Cavani has repeatedly been linked with Inter Miami, David Beckham's MLS franchise who can still make signings.

OLIVIER GIROUD

It appeared for a time as though Giroud's future might be intertwined with Cavani's, as Chelsea boss Frank Lampard openly discussed the merits of the PSG striker. But just as Cavani stayed put, so too did Giroud.

Moves to Inter, Lazio and even rivals Tottenham did not come off, while the former Arsenal man reportedly rejected Newcastle United.

Giroud has started only twice in the Premier League this season and must now hope he secures a place in the France squad for Euro 2020 despite his continued marginal role.

WILLIAN JOSE

There were very few attackers not linked with Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs during January, and Willian Jose remained a candidate for a transfer until deadline day.

Yet rather than joining Jose Mourinho in London, the Real Sociedad man spent Friday apologising to his current club's supporters for attempting to force the switch.

Willian Jose described a Premier League move as a "dream" but, at 28, he might wonder if such an opportunity has passed him by.

RODRIGO MORENO

It seemed to be a move that would suit everyone. Rodrigo would get a big move to Barcelona, providing the LaLiga champions with cover for Luis Suarez. Valencia were looking at former star Paco Alcacer as a replacement.

But the two clubs failed to agree terms, Rodrigo stayed put, and Alcacer headed to Villarreal.

It appears highly unlikely Barca will return for Rodrigo at the end of the campaign, perhaps instead turning their focus back towards Neymar, and the Spain international has surely missed his big chance.

Gianluigi Buffon will meet with Serie A champions Juventus in March to discuss his future, according to agent Silvano Martina.

Aged 42, Buffon has showed no signs of slowing down after returning to Juve on a one-year deal following a single-season spell with Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Buffon, who surpassed Paolo Maldini for most games at club level, has made 10 appearances across all competitions for Maurizio Sarri's Juve this season.

Second choice behind goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Martina was asked about Buffon and he told Tuttosport: "I don't know what he will do. I don't think he knows. We will meet with the club at the end of March and we will see.

"He is happy, he's 42 years old, but seeing him doing so well, fit and healthy means that he's looked after himself.

"He spoke many years ago and said that he would stop at 32, and I told him to wait once he got there.

"He had a beautiful season in Paris, Fabio Paratici often came to see his matches. 

"He's had many requests, but when Juve came calling, it was the best option for his family."

Juve – three points clear atop the table – host Fiorentina in Turin on Sunday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.