Why Barcelona Can't Afford to Wait Another Season to Sign Neymar
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It's already been the transfer saga of this and any other year—and this season hasn't even finished yet!
It stands to reason that when such a God-given talent as the Brazilian becomes available, a queue will form—and we know that the major players in the football world are jostling for position for the right to bid for his services.
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell showed his hand very early, stealing a march on his rivals when he negotiated a pre-contract with Neymar's advisers and current employers Santos.
Let's take a look at why La Blaugrana need to ensure that Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior is lining up alongside Lionel Messi for the start of the 2013/14 La Liga season.
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Blessed with an abundance of natural talent, good looks and "star quality," the young Brazilian is a dream for the marketing gurus at Nike.
Sandro Rosell would have made such a signing a priority upon the completion of his successful candidacy and he needs this transfer to happen—now.
If it works out, Rosell's popularity and credibility will sky-rocket. If it doesn't—for whatever reason—it will be an unmitigated disaster for a president already unpopular with cules.
From a financial perspective, it can only be good news for FC Barcelona. Sales of shirts, offers of friendly matches and all manner of other marketing nuances should see the transfer outlay recouped in no time at all.
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You can be sure that Real Madrid are desperate to beat their arch rivals to Neymar's signature.
After a hugely disappointing campaign for the "all whites," president Florentino Perez needs a new "galactico" to excite the Bernabeu masses.
It's not beyond the realm of possibility that Neymar will see out his Santos contract and leave for free in 2014—as originally planned—in order to benefit from much higher personal terms from Madrid.
Barcelona now need to ensure the transfer is swiftly completed before the player's head is turned.
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The current season has shown—perhaps more than any other—just how dependant Barcelona are on Lionel Messi.
The second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal against Paris Saint-Germain illustrated the point perfectly. The whole atmosphere and dynamic of the game changed once the Argentinian was introduced.
The introduction of Neymar into the Blaugrana mix is almost a necessity at this point.
If Messi is injured or off form, and if this happens to coincide with a match against one of Barca's more celebrated opponents, the dark clouds of pessimism descend. It's like the sky has fallen in for all cules
The signing of Neymar—especially if it can be secured soonest—will see the depression lifted and give all Barca fans something to look forward to over the summer.
More Options, More Creativity
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When Barcelona get going—when the rondos or "tiki taka" are in full carousel mode—there is no finer sight in world football.
Yet, as we saw against Bayern Munich, there is a time and a place for beautiful football, and sometimes a Plan B has been very much lacking.
Neymar is going to open up a whole new ballgame for La Blaugrana.
Whether he slots into a role on the wide left or is given free creative licence, we can only speculate.
What is clear is that the threat which Neymar poses is something that Barca sorely need in order to evolve their passing game.
Dare it be suggested that Barcelona have become a little too set in their ways?
Neymar can inject directness or unpredictability as required, the very same qualities that make Lionel Messi so dangerous to the opposition.
Sit back and enjoy the show.