Between Neymar and Lautaro Martinez, the Barcelona board are yet to decide whom to sign
Barcelona would spend big in the upcoming transfer window. They are ready to clear the team of players who are not performing up to the mark. To replace them, they have already decided a number of players they would want to buy.
One of the important task they need to perform is to find suitable long-term replacements for Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. Both of them are 33 now, and have 3-4 years of top-flight football left in them. The board have two players in mind as of now. They are Neymar and Lautaro Martinez.
Neymar’s move to PSG in 2017 made him the most expensive footballer of all time. However, his stay at Paris had been less than happy. The Brazilian have repeatedly failed to settle in. He tried to force a move back to Barcelona in 2010, and the club too was enthusiastic in bringing him back. However, the Catalans and PSG failed to settle a deal and Neymar had to stay put in Paris.
Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez is one of the breakthrough players of the season. He has caught the eyes of big clubs across Europe due to his amazing partnership with Romelu Lukaku.
The board is yet to decide who to sign. Lautaro is only 22 and Neymar is 28 now. Age is on the side of the Argentine. He is also a number 9, so can be a like-for-like replacement for Suarez. However, one factor that is of the highest importance now is finance.
The financial doldrums at Barcelona
Barcelona are currently in a financial crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. As all football activities are suspended, the club is missing out on the revenues they earn through matchday revenue, television money and the income generated by the club’s museum.
Barcelona realise that they would need to sell certain key players to generate the transfer funds to buy either Neymar and Lautaro. They have reportedly put up Antoine Greizmann for sale. They are also looking to sell Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele.
In no way are PSG going to sell Neymar for a loss. Barcelona cannot afford to pay the €222m they sold Neymar for. They would need to trade two important players along with cash to secure Neymar’s signing. Thus Lautaro seems to be the better option. Although his release clause is €100m, Barca can get him for a lower cost if they decide to trade one player.
Barcelona need to make a decision keeping in mind their financial conditions as well as the kind of player they are looking for.