Barcelona: Who wins in a swap of Antoine Griezmann & Neymar?

Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /

The idea of Barcelona transferring for Neymar Jr once again seems as realistic as ever; the deal would involve swapping Antoine Griezmann, alongside cash, to get the deal done.

But who really wins in such a seismic mega transfer? One could argue this in many directions and indeed, many silver linings present themselves; Barcelona bringing Neymar back to aid Lionel Messi, or PSG bringing a great French player to the biggest French football clubs are but two of the possible avenues.

Neymar could be the biggest winner; returning to the site of his greatest years, performances and victories. Antoine Griezmann can easily be seen as someone who benefits from this innovation as well; he could possibly play a more natural position in Paris than he currently fills at the Camp Nou.

While I believe that all of these are valid notions from weighing all the pieces, I believe one person comes out better than anyone in this scenario; Lionel Messi.

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The reason this deal is the greatest innovation for Lionel Messi is that it is the deal that leaves Messi with Ousmane Dembele, Neymar Jr, Frenkie de Jong, and Ansu Fati; that group may even find itself is managed by the legendary Xavi as well. While I admire and appreciate the ability and talent of Antoine Griezmann, he is simply not a proper fit alongside Messi currently. This is not an eternal truth necessarily, but it could be, and certainly is at the present time.

To be clear, I believe that while Antoine Griezmann could be a great innovation at PSG, Dembele should be the real target to pair with Kylian Mbappe. He has greater ability and upside at this point in his career and being back in France, alongside the remarkable Mbappe could be wonderful fuel; giving Neymar back to Barcelona for relative peanuts would be painful on multiple levels, therefore.

Should Barcelona get rid of a player who doesn’t fit in well, for a player who fits in perfectly, how can one question who gains the most? Lionel Messi would have a veritable arsenal at his disposal and may not have to carry the world on his shoulders as often as in recent campaigns.

Barcelona needs to get a new number nine as Luis Suarez continues to age and diminish but Neymar can likely help to extend that ever closing window. While he is not a number nine himself, moving Griezmann for Neymar then allows for a real focus on that number nine spot, without having to worry about other help for Messi.

The PSG Dilemma

PSG meanwhile, ultimately finds itself in the strangest position should this deal go through as is prognosticated; everything hinges on the decision of Mbappe moving forward.

One can easily make the argument that Neymar has two of the most talented friends in the world of football; Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. That genius loves other genius is not entirely uncommon, but the future of both may very well rest on his playing future; does Mbappe resign with Paris without his great friend, the virtuoso,  Neymar Jr.?

Therefore, PSG has to look at this transfer a bit more deeply than even normal big-name transfers. There has to be foresight on two completely divergent possibilities that must be weighed. If Paris is resigned to moving Neymar back to Spain, who is the player more likely to entice Mbappe and continue the club’s positive momentum?

In my estimation, it should be Ousmane Dembele, although Antoine is a remarkable player in his own right, no questions asked. Should Mbappe leave, it is still a great innovation for PSG to have a player of Griezmann’s ability on hand; the same thing can be rightly said about Dembele of course. It is a dance of which involves practical, economic, functional and footballing consideration, as it will touch all of these concepts accordingly.

Will it happen?

This is always the hardest, yet most important, question; will this actually occur? I believe that Neymar will be moved away from Paris, yes. Whether it is for Grizmann depends on how desperate PSG becomes with moving on in a new direction; success in the champions league could do wonders for the bargaining potential towards getting Dembele instead.

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Ultimately, this innovation will be judged by the success attained by all parties in its aftermath; prior success is no indication of future returns after all.  How the rest of this season goes, once its restarted, will go along way in informing the moves of Summer but for Neymar, returning to Barcelona never seems to be too far away for comfort.