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Barcelona Transfer News: Neymar 'Was Close' to PSG, Manchester United Moves

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2016

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 22:  Neymar of FC Barcelona celebrates aftr scoring Barcelona's 2nd goal during the Copa del Rey Final between Barcelona and Sevilla at Vicente Calderon Stadium    on May 22, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Barcelona superstar Neymar was "close" to joining Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United during the summer transfer window, according to his agent, Wagner Ribeiro.  

The Catalan giants eventually tied the 24-year-old forward to a new five-year contract at the Camp Nou, but Ribeiro claimed he could have made a move to the Parc des Princes or Old Trafford, per ESPN Brazil (h/t ESPN FC's Ian Holyman):

"He was close to joining PSG. He would have earned €40 million a year net. Neymar was also close to a spell at Manchester United, but he extended his contract to earn less at Barcelona because he wanted to stay at Barcelona."

PSG lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic to United in the summer and were strongly rumoured to be lining up a £153 million move to add Neymar to their squad as their new superstar, per MailOnline's Kieran Gill.

However, a club source for the French champions denied Ribeiro's claims about PSG's contract offer to Neymar, per L'Equipe (via Holyman): "It's totally false. With employer contributions on top, that salary would have cost more than €60 million a year. It's obscene. Neymar used us to strengthen his hand with Barcelona." 

Meanwhile, United had long been linked with a potential swoop for the former Santos man, but Ibrahimovic and £89 million-man Paul Pogba were eventually their big summer signings, alongside Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mhkitaryan.

It never seemed likely that Neymar would opt to depart Barcelona considering any move away from the Camp Nou would arguably have been a step down.

Though the Blaugrana are not the current UEFA Champions League holders, they are unquestionably one of Europe's elite clubs and, along with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, Neymar is part of the most devastating attacking trio in the world, per Bleacher Report UK's Tim Collins:

B/R Football @brfootball

Neymar is football’s king-in-waiting—even the wait poses its own challenges 👑 | @TimDCollins https://t.co/zSh5BND8Kd https://t.co/CZsyoKA2Wv

Barcelona have won LaLiga in consecutive seasons, and their aim for 2016-17 will be to retain the domestic title, win the Copa del Rey and wrestle back the Champions League from Spanish rivals Real Madrid.

The fact that Neymar reportedly turned down a potential £650,000-a-week offer from PSG is indicative of his commitment to Barcelona.

In all likelihood Neymar will remain at Barcelona for the foreseeable future, and he will eventually succeed 29-year-old Lionel Messi as the club's star player.

Per Paul Vinnell of Sky Sports, in the terms of his new contract, Neymar's release clause will eventually reach a £210 million.

Barcelona's faith in Neymar continuing to improve and perform consistently brilliantly is clear and, despite the interest from elsewhere, the Catalans have done very well to hang on to him.

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