Does Barcelona really need notorious Neymar?

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 19: Neymar Jrof Paris Saint-Germain celebrate his goal during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint Germain and EA Guingamp at Parc des Princes on January 19, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 19: Neymar Jrof Paris Saint-Germain celebrate his goal during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint Germain and EA Guingamp at Parc des Princes on January 19, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images) /

Neymar transfer Saga is already one of the most trending hashtags across the social media platform. The Kim Kardashian of football is making more headlines than the real Kardashian.

Neymar’s separation from Barcelona was heartbreaking. Cules across the globe felt betrayed. In a flash, the torchbearer who’d guide Barcelona post-Messi era had turned into a perfidious traitor. Neymar had committed one of the biggest treacheries in football when he swapped the Catalan colors for Parisian blue. Neymar was the successor to Messi’s throne; he was in line to be the best among the mortals after the two immortals call it a day.

Media painted him as Messi’s heir. However, the young Brazilian wanted to fly, he wanted immediate limelight. His desire was to be seen as equal to Messi rather than a successor. The whispers of Messi obstructing the Samba star’s path intensified. Neymar was desperate to get out of Messi’s shadow.

PSG came knocking and Neymar opened the door. PSG splashed a whopping amount of £198 million for Neymar. Fast-track two years and Barcelona have failed to find an adequate successor to Neymar, forget finding a player to succeed Messi. Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele haven’t worked out. Dembele has the acceleration and trickery but lacks concentration and discipline. Coutinho is more of an orchestrator; the role at Barcelona demands a predator.

As for Neymar, after two years and four major injuries, he realized his mistake. The young blood in his veins forced him to leave Barcelona, turned him into a traitor. Now he wants to return and Barcelona are willing to forget his sins and give him another chance at life. PSG want to get rid of his toxic personality. Barcelona will have to swallow their pride and dignity if they are to bring their former number 11 back.

Neymar and Barcelona share a special connection. Barcelona harvested and harnessed his deep talents; he took over when Messi disappeared during crucial moments. La Remontada for instance. Neymar has set his sights on a Barcelona return. However, he isn’t the same player that he was a couple of years ago. In Paris, he regularly hit the headlines for hard-partying and self-promotion. His off the field exploits turned more heads than his on-field performances. He is known for opulence in excess.

Barcelona are suffering. Despite the firepower, they aren’t elegant and charming as before. Valverde is to blame. That’s a topic of discussion for some other day though. Neymar is willing to take a pay cut for facilitating a return, Barcelona must learn from the mistakes and not indulge in this suicide mission.

Having the Brazilian back is not going to ease things; it’s going to further complicate them. Tactically, Neymar’s inclusion in the line-up will make things more difficult for the rest of the players. Neymar likes to stick on the sidelines and then cut inside. Neymar uses abundant space on the left flank. Meaning, Jordi Alba needs to compromise on his territory. He and Neymar need to find a middle ground when it comes to attacking up the left flank.

The Spanish left-back loves raiding forward and his mystical connection with Lionel Messi makes up Barca’s one of the most destructive weapons. No one makes a combination better with Messi than Alba. The Argentine’s diagonals to the diminutive full-back are sublime. You wouldn’t want to disturb the equilibrium between Alba and Messi, even if it comes at the cost of Neymar.

Messi is aging. An aging Messi means he runs less and there’s a reduction in physical output. Having Messi to do what he does, you would want him to channel all his energy into the attack. Messi has developed a tendency to drop deep and create chances out of nowhere. His teammates compliment him in such a way that he has to do minimal defensive chores.

When you look at Neymar, he also has similar traits. He is brutal when it comes to attacking, but he isn’t the kind of player who provides defensive support. Having another player with a low defensive work rate just adds more pressure on the rest of the team. Valverde wants high defensive stability, when you have two players who won’t offer much defensively, there’s a high chance of the system failure.

There’s a saying- “Too many options lead to discombobulation”. Neymar’s arrival would mean Valverde is preparing for another bout of headache. The mystery of best possible line-up will always linger in Valverde’s head. Neymar’s addition means there are too many options in attack, and all of them prolific in their own right. Barcelona’s attacking arsenal would house Messi, Suarez, Dembele, Griezmann, and Neymar.

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Each name carries the weight of its own. How do you bring such a mammoth group on the same page? How do you convince one match-winner to make a place for another? This isn’t FIFA career mode where you can have all the highest attributed players in the same roof without sparking fears of insecurity. The dressing room may have ego clashes when there are players with such heavy personalities. Neymar and Edinson Cavani can attest.

There’s a financial side to things as well. PSG demand complete £198 million that they had invested in the Brazilian, a foolish demand which should not be entertained at any costs. Barcelona are open to offering cash and two players. Whatever amount of money involved this move will only wreak more damage Barcelona’s already crumbling finances. It’s a piece of business that Barca can’t afford.

More than excitement, Neymar now causes problems and doubts. Neymar has turned his life into a high-budget Hollywood movie. The women, the money, the fame have got the better of him. Always surrounded by the lavish parties and the orgies, football has taken a backseat in his life. This turbulent plot might be a hit on the screen but is a disaster on the pitch. The scandals have taken its toll on his footballing career. A return to Barca is poisonous. Neymar now is more about fame and brand rather than footballing glory. A Neymar return is not recommended under any circumstance.