Neymar’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, recently fuelled speculation that the Barcelona star could leave the Camp Nou by claiming that three clubs are ready to pay his €200 million release clause.
Ribeiro’s claim only added to the confusion surrounding Neymar’s future. Sport claim that he will sign a new long-term deal that will see him become Barca’s second-highest earner.
But, in the event that the Brazilian does leave Catalonia this summer, the Spanish newspaper has listed five possible replacements.
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Finding a worthy successor to the 24-year-old will be tough. Neymar scored 31 goals as Barcelona secured a La Liga and Copa del Rey double last season. His improvement on the previous campaign was noticeable and the former Santos man is viewed as the heir to Lionel Messi’s throne.
This is why his new contract includes a boost on his release clause to €230m.
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But that interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Manchester United will not disappear until Neymar signs a new deal. And if he does leave, Barca must be prepared to sign someone who can replace his productivity.
Check out Sport’s five potential replacements below.
The Belgium endured a difficult season for Chelsea, failing to score a single league goal until April. Barcelona will have to recall the 2014-15 if they want to justify signing Hazard but they will face competition from Madrid and PSG.
Griezmann announced himself as one of the best players in Europe last season. The Atletico Madrid forward scored 32 goals in all competitions for the Champions League finalists.
There has been reported interest from the Premier League but Griezmann looks set to stay at the Vicente Calderon for at least one more season.
Kevin de Bruyne
Manchester City paid £50 million to sign De Bruyne from Wolfsburg last summer and figures to be a key part of Pep Guardiola’s plans.
In our eyes, Sport shouldn’t have even wasted the time in typing De Bruyne’s name.
A fee of roughly €50m would be enough for Bayern Munich to sell Costa, according to Sport, and his attributes certainly come close to matching Neymar’s.
He’s a speedy winger who isn’t afraid to pull out the tricks. If he was a little more consistent in front of goal, he’d be a great fit at the Camp Nou.
Sport reckon Dybala presents the “best investment for the future”.
The Juventus star is the latest to be crowned “the new Lionel Messi” having enjoyed a breakout season in Turin.
The Argentinian netted 23 goals in all competitions for the Serie A champions and is set for an excellent future. His price tag is reportedly €70m.