Football

Neymar signed for PSG in a world record deal.

Barcelona director reveals when they knew Neymar was leaving

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Barcelona are in disarray off the pitch after a vote of no confidence was filed against club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Ernesto Valverde's first summer as Blaugrana boss has been challenging to say the least, with top targets Marco Verratti and Philippe Coutinho staying at their respective clubs.

The biggest setback of all came as Paris Saint-Germain triggered Neymar's release clause and took the Brazilian to Ligue 1 for a cool £198million.

News of the forward's potential departure seemed nothing more than a rumour at first. After all, it wasn't anything special for the 25-year-old to be linked with a move away from the Nou Camp.

Even Barcelona didn't worry when they first heard they could be losing one-third of their iconic 'MSN' trio.

One of the many accusations which has been levelled at the board is that they had plenty of time to prepare a replacement, as they must have known months ago

In fairness, Liverpool simply wouldn't budge on Coutinho, and Barca did fork out €105million for Ousmane Dembele, even if the French prodigy is not quite Neymar-level yet.

And one Barcelona director, Albert Soler, has defended their transfer strategy, claiming they only realised Neymar would be leaving right at the last minute. He's even kept the Whatsapp messages to prove it.

Barca had little time to prepare 

"I have a message that tells me PSG wanted Neymar on July 19. Luckily, WhatsApps have dates," he said, per the Daily Mail.

"The interest was not in January or March, but on July 19. The rumours started at the end of July. Both the President and I didn't know he'd leave prior to that.

"We immediately got to work once we learnt about Neymar going to PSG, but he's a very, very, very difficult player to replace.

International Champions Cup 2017 - Juventus v FC Barcelona

"Issue isn't the £198m, it's that Neymar is no longer with us. We'd like him to still be here. Whoever says otherwise is lying."

Barca do seem to be lacking a dimension since losing one of their key men, which is only to be expected. Nevertheless, they are wary of putting too much pressure on Dembele, who is only 20-years-old and can't possibly be expected to fill Neymar's shoes just yet.

They can't possibly to have expected him to actually leave for Ligue 1, as it was long thought he would go onto become the poster boy for La Liga once Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo retired.

What do you make of Barcelona's business this summer? Have your say in the comments.

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Topics:
Ligue 1
Football
La Liga

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