Barcelona Claim They Were Unware of Neymar’s Desire to Leave
Barcelona director Albert Soler has claimed that the club were unaware that Neymar wanted to leave the club until just before his transfer went through to Paris Saint Germain.
The Ligue 1 club met the player’s release clause, completing a world record £198m transfer at the start of August. Barca signed Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele, but failed to lure Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.
Soler insisted, “I have a message that tells me PSG wanted Neymar on July 19. Luckily, WhatsApps have dates. The interest was not in January or March, but on July 19.
“'The rumours started at the end of July. Both the President and I didn't know he'd leave prior to that. We immediately got to work once we learnt about Neymar going to PSG, but he's a very, very, very difficult player to replace.
“The Issue isn't the £198m, it's that Neymar is no longer with us. We'd like him to still be here. Whoever says otherwise is lying. Release clauses are an added handicap for Spanish clubs. We should all play with the same rules.
“It's reached the stage where one club paid 50 million for a goalkeeper. We're relieved that UEFA are opening investigations. We're not going to enter into a market which is has gone way out of control.”