Neymar could take a huge pay cut in order to secure his return to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain this summer, only two years after leaving Camp Nou in a world record €222m deal.
The superstar Brazilian’s future has been one of the most frenzied transfer sagas of the summer and it has become clear that his place at PSG is increasingly untenable.
The money involved has made it extremely complicated for Barcelona to take Neymar back – media assertions of an agreement by Thursday night proved premature and the clubs continue to negotiate the cash fee that would be involved and exactly players PSG will get in exhange.
On top of that, Neymar’s vast wages are a huge strain that could derail any transfer. However, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, the 27-year-old is willing to see his net salary slashed by around 40% if it means the transfer can go ahead.
“The player is happy to reduce his wages from 38 million euros net to 23 million euros net,” Balague told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“It is an interesting situation at Barcelona. They feel they have to try really hard to get him back.
“Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez want him back but also the president Josep Maria Bartomeu has two more years in his mandate and he wants to leave a big legacy. Can you imagine all those players that have been mentioned and Neymar as well?”
Yet despite signs pointing more and more to Barcelona return before the Spanish transfer window closes on 2 September, PSG sporting director Leonardo has not ruled out the possibility of Neymar staying in Paris after suggesting injury is the only reason behind his current absence.
“It's wrong. He is not removed from the group. He follows his personalised rehabilitation program,” Leonardo told RMC.
“He's a Paris Saint-Germain player, he's still in Paris for three years, so do not forget. We must analyse everything; we must fix everything before he can play again.”