Neymar’s €222 million move to Paris Saint-Germain has left Barcelona with a void to fill and money to spend.
The Blaugrana were helpless to prevent Neymar leaving for PSG, with the Brazilian insisting the move had nothing to do with money.
“I wanted something bigger, a bigger challenge. This was about ambition,” Neymar said at his introductory press conference, per The Guardian. “My heart told me it was time to sign for Paris Saint-Germain.
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“It was the right time to leave Barcelona. I was never motivated by money. I thought above all else about the happiness of my family, regardless of money.
“I’m really sad some people think this is the case.”
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Barça have wasted no time in trying to find Neymar’s replacement. Their interest in signing Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been well documented, and their hopes of signing the 25-year-old were boosted on Friday when he handed in a transfer request.
Liverpool are insistent that Coutinho won’t leave Anfield but similar comments were made about Luis Suarez months before his move to the Camp Nou in 2014.
Coutinho isn’t the only player on Barcelona’s radar, with Borussia Dortmund publicly rejecting Barcelona’s offer for highly-rated Frenchman Ousmane Dembele this week.
Dembele skipped Dortmund training, suggesting he is keen on a move to Spain, and was punished by his employers as a result.
Of course, Barça could come back in for Dembele before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.
Xavi: Barça should take a risk on Dembele
And one man who endorses Dembele to Barcelona is Xavi, who believes his former club must “take a risk” on the 20-year-old.
Xavi, who won eight La Liga titles with Barcelona, believes Dembele’s inexperience presents a slight concern but he has the quality to become a star.
“Versatile player, with a lot of physical and technical qualities, and very fast in addition,” Xavi told Eurosport. “He is excellent in the last pass.
“Now, he is 20-years-old. This means two things: he has all the future ahead of him, but he will have to demonstrate that he also has the mental strength to impose himself in a club as demanding as Barça.
“His age is his strength as well as his handicap. But with his qualities, the club must take a risk on him.
“The price? Today, any good player is worth millions.”
Barcelona’s original offer, according to AS, was €110m - €80m up front and €30m in add-ons.
The Spanish outlet claims the Catalan club will come back in with a €140m bid for Dembele.
Coutinho or Dembele - who should Barcelona sign? Have your say in the comments section below!
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