Real Madrid meet with Neymar’s father and already know his price tag
What better way to glance over a disastrous domestic campaign than to switch attention to potential incomings. Real Madrid are still going strong in the Champions League but it’s the last team they defeated who might hold the key to their future. Yes, Neymar Jr is once again in the spotlight. Could the Brazilian starlet swerve the footballing world and move on to Barcelona’s arch rivals after just one season in Paris?
According to ‘AS’ Real Madrid sent officials out to talk with Neymar’s father and his lawyers about a move this summer. Barcelona fans will know all too well how influential Neymar’s father can be – and how moving clubs can earn a huge cash windfall. According to the Spanish newspaper the fee PSG would be willing to accept is – wait for it – a mouth-watering €400m.
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PSG are on a charm offensive to keep Neymar happy. Their chairman, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is heading to Brazil in order to make sure everything is to Neymar’s liking in Paris. He was impressed that the injured superstar postponed his operation to watch his teammates in action against Real Madrid. But the club bowed down to Neymar’s wishes of having the operation in Brazil where he can be closer to his family.
This looks set to be the story of the summer, especially with Real Madrid keen to offload some of their underperforming stars. If they are able to pull off the signing of Neymar – for whatever price – then it’d make the whole world stand up and take notice again. Although I’m not sure how PSG could recover from losing their marquee signing after a single season.
“Searching for Isco”
When you talk about potential incomings, this needs to be offset by potential outgoings. After signing a new contract most of us expected to see Isco dislodge Gareth Bale from his position and become a regular starter this season. Instead Isco is behind both Bale and now Asensio in the pecking order for a forward slot. In midfield, he’s behind Lucas Vazquez. MARCA asks: What’s going on with Spain’s golden boy?
It says a lot about your overall contribution to a game that the only time people recognise you are on the pitch is when you’re being substituted. Isco’s non-performance against Eibar can be added to a catalogue of poor displays this term. It’s not for a lack of quality as we all know the talent he possesses. However there’s definitely trouble in paradise for Isco.
In Zidane, Isco knows he will be given more chances to prove his worth. A redeeming feature for the biggest names in the squad is Zidane’s unwavering support in their times of need. Isco, more than anyone, knows how to win back a place. This has been the case for practically the entirety of his stay in Madrid. If he doesn’t improve, he might be ‘pooing himself’ in a vastly different manner to his teammate Sergio Ramos at the weekend.
Barcelona are set to add to their own forward line – with Griezmann the ideal candidate
You don’t win anything in football by standing still. Barcelona secured the signature of Arthur this week with one eye on the future. However this summer looks set to be another busy one at the Camp Nou. And alarmingly it seems as if it’s in attack where their priority will remain.
Despite already having Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele to call upon, Barcelona want more. Antoine Griezmann is a long-term target and speculation suggests they might already have an agreement in place to sign the French forward in the summer. His current buyout clause stands at €100m. This was a fee Manchester United were willing to pay but a move fell through after Atletico’s transfer ban was upheld.
According to ‘El Partidazo de la Cope’ radio show, Atletico are doing everything in their power to keep Griezmann at the club. His return to form in early 2018 – and blossoming partnership with Diego Costa – makes them believe a title tilt is possible with both at the club. Atletico are willing to offer him a huge wage increase. Of course, they would also bump up his buyout clause to something less accessible for Europe’s richest teams.
Gabi, Atletico’s captain, sounds like someone who already knows their star man’s future lies elsewhere. “To Griezmann I ask that while he’s here he defends the shirt as it deserves to be (defended). I understand that there are footballers here who don’t have Atletico in their hearts and can change (clubs). You don’t need to criticise or crucify them for that though.
Valencia are beginning to dream of a record points total in LaLiga
It might be getting lost in the shuffle but it’s worth reminding everyone of the fantastic job Marcelino is doing at Valencia. At the weekend they went to their nearest rivals’ home, Sevilla, and walked away with a 2-0 victory. This means Los Che now have one hand on a Champions League place for next season. Not only that but it could prevent a mass sale of the club’s stars.
With Champions League football looking likely the next target for Valencia is matching their record points total in LaLiga (with 20 teams). Both Rafa Benitez and Nuno Espirtu Santo managed to reach 77 points. In the case of Benitez, it was enough to win the LaLiga crown. For Nuno it only secured fourth place. Perhaps a sign of how difficult it is for anyone outside of the obvious candidates to win this league.
Marcelino’s team currently sits on 56 points with another 30 to play for. It won’t be easy but it’s another mini objective to aim for.
Paco Jemez produces another epic rant following Las Palmas latest defeat
One thing you can guarantee with Paco Jemez is honesty. The man isn’t one to beat around the bush or defend the indefensible. Whereas most managers prefer to insulate their players from criticism, Paco is often the one throwing them under the bus if they don’t do the basics right.
“It was chaos. It was a disaster. If there was the time and money available, it’s for throwing everyone out of the club. Myself first. And then bring in 24 new players.”
And as for what his Las Palmas team would need to do in order to stay up, he also had ideas. “We need to work until we break. Those who don’t want to do that can leave. If we need to bring up eight kids from the academy, we’ll do that. If we aren’t capable of demonstrating more than we did today, we don’t deserve to be in LaLiga.”
Not a happy camper.