Barcelona forward Neymar is yet to agree a new contract with the club, according to the player's father, who has told fans to be "calm" until his son's future is resolved at the end of this season.
Neymar Sr. shot down ESPN Brasil's report earlier this week that his son had agreed a three-year extension at the Camp Nou and told Catalan newspaper Ara talks haven't even begun yet (h/t Football Espana):
Neymar has two years of his [Barca] contract left. The fans can be calm. We haven’t started talking because we’ve spent too long defending ourselves against accusations which came to us from all angles. We’re happy with the club and the club are so with us. We’ll wait until May or June. We have time to talk.
[Real Madrid] haven’t contacted us. Neymar has lived through speculation since he was 16. [On Manchester United’s summer bid], clubs are coming back in with offers, but Barca are preparing to reject them.
The report elaborated upon ESPN Brasil's claims that a new deal lasting until 2021 had been agreed, and ESPN FC added the contract would make Neymar the club's second-highest-paid player.
Goal's Greg Lea provided additional quotes from Neymar Sr.'s interview with Ara, and he confirmed Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the other members of Barca's MSN strike force, have been subjects of transfer bids: "These offers are still coming, but the club are prepared to reject them. These bids are not just for Neymar, though but also for Suarez, Messi… Neymar is very happy at Barcelona, people don't need to worry."
It's even said the extension was agreed in December when Barca travelled to Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup, but Neymar's ongoing tax and fraud cases have prevented parties from announcing the news. Sky Sports quoted Neymar Sr. in November when he hinted to Cadena Ser the trial could force his son to leave with £31.3 million of his assets still frozen.
Barcelona will have undoubtedly been pleased with the news their rising superstar is set to remain at the club for the long haul, but the Press Association's Richard Martin questioned the logic of a "pre-contract extension":
Neymar signs a "pre-contract"... with Barca. Is this a new thing? Signing pre-contracts before renewing with the same club?— Richard Martin (@rich9908) February 23, 2016
It's been suggested rumours of a Camp Nou exit have in part been encouraged in order to bag the Brazilian a more lucrative deal in Catalonia, but these latest quotes suggest the player is content in his current setting.
Manchester United have been linked as one of the front-runners to recruit Neymar should he look to the Barca exit, and Neymar Sr confirmed to COPE (h/t Sky Sports) recently that the Red Devils made a £140 million approach for the attacker last summer.
The 24-year-old has scored 77 goals and made 47 assists in 125 appearances for the Catalan giants since joining from Santos in 2013, winning a European and domestic treble in just his second season with the club.
That kind of rampant success would leave most players happy to continue with the club, yet Sky Sports correspondent Paulo Freitas recently noted Neymar's agent, Wagner Ribeiro, has said his Barca future isn't assured:
Neymar's father told UOL that Neymar will extend contract w/Barcelona while agent W. Ribeiro said he'll probably stay but not 100% certain.— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) February 12, 2016
The outcome of Neymar's trials in Spain and Brazil, relating to his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona, are likely to have a major impact on whether the player remains in Catalonia for years to come.
Barcelona will undoubtedly be eager to keep their star at the club for as long as possible, and while he and his father are calm on the matter, Neymar hasn't signed on the dotted line just yet.