In a new development, it seems plausible that Barcelona could sign Neymar for a mere £15m due to an Article within the FIFA rules and regulations for transfers that both Barcelona and Neymar himself are looking into invoking to get the Brazilian released from PSG to facilitate and expedite his transfer to the Blaugrana, according to ESPN and Spanish outlet SPORT.
Article 17 of the FIFA rules and regulations allows for a player to buy out the remainder of his contract with the proviso that he had signed with a team before the age of 27. The other caveat is that the player must have been at the same club for at least three years.
The advent of this summer will mark the third year since Neymar departed Barca to join PSG in football world’s most expensive transfer. This essentially means Neymar has the opportunity to invoke the clause and could actually be able to buy out his own contract.
Barcelona are dead set on signing Neymar as their star player Messi has voiced in no uncertain terms on numerous occasions and again most recently his desire and preference to have the Brazilian return to the Catalan club to play alongside as the duo had forged an undeniably formidable and dynamic relationship on the pitch that had spurred the La Liga giants to numerous victories before Neymar exited the club for PSG in an unexpected turn of events.
Messi’s insistence on having Neymar return to Barcelona by the summer transfer has no doubt made club president Josep Bartomeu even more desperate to get the deal sealed one way or another, so to speak. After all he certainly wouldn’t want, or dare, to risk incurring the displeasure of the club’s long-time star player and savior. Hence Bartomeu is reportedly looking into leveraging on this particular clause within FIFA’s guidelines which could mean they sign the Brazilian cheap for a transfer fee of just £15million. That would obviously mean a ludicrous saving for the club, as the transfer fee for Neymar the previous summer was tagged at £150million then. Bartomeu has apparently been acting through a Belgian lawyer to iron out the details of the potential move.
Meanwhile, it was simultaneously reported in Spain over the weekend that Neymar had taken it upon himself to notify Barcelona that he would do whatever it takes to expedite his return to the Blaugrana as it is also widely known that the Brazilian is eager to play alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez again, and has maintained the close friendship and rapport he has developed with both.
SPORT claims he will exert pressure on PSG’s owners to force through an exit in the summer.
And how do PSG feel about Barcelona using the FIFA rule to seal the Neymar transfer? Unexpectedly, the PSG top brass are not in a dither over Barcelona planning to use the Article 17 loophole in FIFA’s rules and regulations to sign Neymar, according to European football insider, Julien Laurens, who also claims that, on the contrary, PSG chiefs are open to negotiating with Barcelona over a transfer for Neymar.
Apparently Neymar being able to exercise the available option to cancel his contract with PSG, leaving it up to FIFA to decide how much Barcelona would pay, isn’t ruffling the feathers of the bosses at the French club because they are inclined to believe that FIFA would ask the Catalans to pay a fee close to what they would ask for in a negotiation anyway.
“They know it’s a possibility,” Laurens said on ESPN FC.
“Yes, Barcelona could do that, and they [Barcelona] have lawyers who can do that. Even in the Neymar camp, they could do that if they want. But they [PSG] don’t think it’ll really go that far. Like we said before, PSG were open for negotiations last summer. If Neymar wants to go again this summer, they’ll be open for negotiations again.”
“The only thing is, one – they’re not really sure Neymar wants to leave the club. Two – if Barcelona are going to FIFA for article 17, they don’t think the price tag will be very far from what PSG want anyway. Let’s not forget, they paid €222 million for Neymar back in 2017, and they still have two years more on his contract, that’s why article 17 can be used in this case.”
“They think FIFA would ask Barcelona to pay between €150m and 160m which is what PSG would ask for anyway. There’s not any need for Barcelona to go there because PSG would be willing to negotiate and the price tag would be similar to what PSG want anyway. Barcelona don’t need to go that far in going for Article 17.”
It would be pretty interesting to see how all this pans out for both clubs and Neymar vis-à-vis Article 17. It is interesting to note that there are also other complications for Barcelona, which are, namely, the board’s split over the Neymar transfer with Lautaro Martinez now being eyed as another hot option, and also the urgent need to offload Antoine Griezmann, hopefully to Manchester United, before the Catalonians are able to seal the deal on Neymar once and for all.
The way I see it, Messi will have the last say on the matter, come hell or high heaven!