Barcelona ready to sign Santos forward after Neymar recommendation

It must be difficult for a manager to settle in at any new club, let alone one of the biggest sports teams in the world.

Spare a thought for Ernesto Valverde – a man tasked with helping Barcelona wrestle the La Liga title from Real Madrid in his first season in charge.

The Spaniard brings an impressive CV to the Nom Camp having previously called the shots at Espanyol, Olympiacos, Villarreal, Valencia and most recently Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona are clearly of a different class to any side Valverde has managed in his 16-year career – so he could be forgiven if he needs some time to adjust to his new position.

The 53-year-old has so far welcomed only one new face to the Nou Camp after Marlon made his loan from Fluminense permanent last week.

Valverde still has plenty of time to refine his transfer shortlist before the window officially opens on July 1 – and it appears some of his players have offered their two cents regarding potential signings.

Fox Sports Brazil – via the Sun – reports Neymar put forward Santos ace Lucas Lima as a must-have addition before Barcelona opted to snap him up on a free transfer.

The 26-year-old will reportedly join at the conclusion of the Brazilian Serie A season in December on a four-year contract, largely thanks to his compatriot.

Lima – an attacking midfielder – has earned 14 international caps for the Selecao and is hoping to make their squad for the 2018 World Cup.

Well, Neymar certainly may have made his prospects of doing just that all the more likely.

The pair shares a much deeper connection than simply both playing for Santos during their respective careers, though.

CONNECTION

Lima used to date Neymar’s sister – Rafaella – and is also using the Barcelona star’s father as a representative in the deal.

Football can make the world seem very small indeed.

Lima would likely serve as a back-up to Andres Iniesta as he approaches a stage of his career that requires careful management to keep him in peak condition.

However, the potential arrival of Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti and the presence of Andre Gomes, Rafinha and Ivan Rakitic could render his playing time to be in very short supply.

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