Neymar’s father has reportedly told a Spanish court the Barcelona star has received a “mega offer” to leave the Camp Nou.
That’s according to Catalunya Radio (h/t Sport), which suggested the information was disclosed during an ongoing trial in respect of the player’s transfer from Santos to the Blaugrana.
“The club in question were reportedly willing to pay the player's €190 million release clause,” Sport relay. “However, Neymar Sr. also said in front of judge Jose de la Mata that his son intends to renew with Barca and that he has given him orders not to listen to any other offers.”
Neymar was in court himself on Tuesday as part of the process, per BBC.
Brazilian company DIS made a complaint regarding the 23-year-old’s transfer to the Blaugrana back in 2013; it owned 40 percent of the player’s rights and has accused current club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, his predecessor Sandro Rosell, Barcelona, Neymar and his parents of fraud.
Although a release clause clause of €190 million (£144 million) seems extortionate, there’s an argument to be made that in the case of Neymar, it could well be value for money. Here’s a look at why:
Indeed, despite currently playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world alongside two of the game’s other best attackers in Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, speculation has still been swirling about Neymar’s future.
The player himself admitted to ESPN Brazil (h/t Sky Sports) earlier in the season that Manchester United had been in touch over a potential transfer.
More recently there have been links with Barcelona’s arch-rivals Real Madrid, with Marca (h/t Chris Davie of Goal) suggesting Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez is willing to meet the aforementioned release amount.
For plenty of young men, such furore off the field would be enough to impact performances on it. However, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique doesn’t expect rumours or the court case to be too detrimental to his performances, per AS English:
Enrique looks thoroughly bored as he fields another question about Neymar: "Neymar, on a scale of 1 to 1 million, will be affected 0.0001&"— AS English (@English_AS) February 2, 2016
If Neymar has been affected, he isn’t showing it lately. In his last six games for Barcelona he’s notched a handy five goals and two assists, helping the side assert themselves at the summit of La Liga and progress into the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey. At the moment, the Catalan giants look on course to replicate their treble feat of 2014-15.
Neymar is emboldened as a footballer too, showing a willingness to step up and lead this side when it counts. Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez thinks the former Santos man has been the standout player on the continent this term:
So seems like Neymar had masterclass. The best player in Europe this season IMO (with Messi out several months). #Reymar— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) January 28, 2016
Barcelona fans will hope Neymar won’t be distracted by these ongoings. The Brazilian has always emitted the aura of a young man who is at his best when laid back and enjoying his football, after all.
Nevertheless, it will be encouraging to supporters to hear his father note that the Brazil captain intends to sign on for more years at Barcelona. Once that extension has been finalised and his release clause bolstered, perhaps only then will rumours about Neymar’s future finally cease.