The father of Barcelona star Neymar has ruled out a transfer away from the club, and Manchester United understand it will be difficult to secure the signing of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane given the youngster's standing with the club and the strained relationship between both teams following the David De Gea debacle.
The Sun's Shaun Custis claimed the Red Devils made a bid for Neymar toward the end of the summer transfer window, leading to plenty of speculation regarding the Brazil international's future.
The uncertainty of Neymar's ongoing contract negotiations have only added to the rumours, but as reported by Cuatro (h/t Football Espana), Neymar Sr. has told Barcelona fans not to worry: “The fans can relax. Neymar’s staying at Barca. We don’t need to negotiate anything with Barca because [Neymar] still has three more years on his contract.”
Neymar has yet to give any indication he could be open to the idea of leaving Barcelona, and Blaugrana technical director Robert Fernandez recently told TV3 (h/t Goal's Joe Wright) contract negotiations are “on track.”
The 23-year-old has only ever played for one club in Europe and seems unlikely to leave the Catalans, where he currently is part of arguably the best attacking trio in the sport. Playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar found plenty of success in 2014-15, with Barcelona winning the treble.
While top stars can often put some of their team-mates in the shadow, that doesn't seem to be the case with Barcelona. Messi remains the biggest name and most revered player, but on the pitch, all three attackers are making their contributions and getting their chances, via OptaJohan:
Barcelona are expected to once again contend for major silverware in 2015-16 and beyond, so it's hard to see why Neymar would want to leave such a wonderful situation. He's also younger than Messi and Suarez and the likely future face of Barcelona, so the Catalans have no reason to sell, either.
Everything will come down to the contract negotiations and whether Barcelona and Neymar can find some common ground, but with three years left on his current deal, Neymar and his entourage can take their time, and an extension should be announced at some point in the near future.
Meanwhile, Fichajes.net (h/t Metro's Louis Sealey) claim Varane is one of Louis van Gaal's top targets, although the Dutchman knows signing the France international will be next to impossible at this point.
Varane has finally become a regular starter for Los Blancos under new manager Rafa Benitez, having spent the past few seasons watching the partnership of Sergio Ramos and Pepe dominate Spanish attackers.
An injury to Pepe during pre-season saw Varane enter the starting XI, and he responded with a number of superb outings, leading to Benitez moving Pepe to the bench on his return.
Varane looked like a viable transfer target for some of the Premier League's elite clubs when he wasn't playing, but that's no longer the case. And even if he were to move at the end of this season, Old Trafford would be an unlikely destination.
The relationship between Real Madrid and United is perhaps as bad as ever in the wake of De Gea's failed move to the Spanish capital, with both clubs repeatedly taking shots at each other in the media, via Partido de los 12 (h/t Daily Mirror's Ed Malyon).
Since then, De Gea has signed a new deal with the Red Devils, further complicating a potential move to Real, so there's every reason to believe Los Blancos won't be too keen to open negotiations with the Red Devils.
Varane is one of the world's best young centre-backs, so if he does decide to leave the club, there will be plenty of other suitors. Chelsea is frequently mentioned as a potential destination, via the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel, and Los Blancos would likely prefer the Blues over doing business again with United.