Barcelona's Arthur 'Doing a Lot of Work' to Bring Neymar Back to Camp Nou

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 27, 2018

BELGRADE, SERBIA - DECEMBER 11: Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Red Star Belgrade and Paris Saint-Germain at Rajko Mitic Stadium on December 11, 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Arthur says he's "doing a lot of work" to bring former Blaugrana star Neymar back to the club from Paris Saint-Germain and prays he can play alongside his Brazilian countryman at the Camp Nou. 

Neymar, 26, left Barca for PSG in the summer of 2017 but has been frequently linked with a return, and Arthur told Mundo Deportivo (h/t MailOnline's Jack Kinnersley) he sorely wants his compatriot back in Catalonia:

"I personally am praying for him to come because he is a star, it is indisputable, and I think that the better players the team have, the better.

"Personally, I am doing a lot of work to get him back, but he has his life, he knows what he's doing, and I don't know how deep those negotiations are, if there are options for him to come or not.

"But he is a personal friend and a professional that I admire a lot and would be very happy if he could come back here."

Arthur, 22, arrived in Catalonia from Gremio this past summer, one year after Neymar joined Les Parisiens in a world-record €222 million deal.

Philippe Coutinho has in part restored the Brazilian connection on Barca's left flank after arriving at the club in January 2018, and Ousmane Dembele's rise back to form this term has given them another star presence out wide.

There have been periods over the past year or so where a Neymar reunion has been touted as plausible. However, The Spanish Football Podcast posted covers from the Catalan media suggesting Barca have moved on from Neymar after his departure:

AS (h/t Mirror's Andrew Gilpin) recently reported Neymar is desperate to rejoin his old club and has his representatives in "constant contact" with the Blaugrana. It also referenced reports that said Neymar could move back to Barcelona for €215 million (£193.5 million) at the end of this season.

But the forced manner of Neymar's exit and the fact it was his own decision makes the transfer difficult, irrespective of how badly Arthur may want to team up alongside his friend and international team-mate.

Football writer Andy West questioned whether a return to Barca was on the cards and suggested other suitors look more probable:

Barca manager Ernesto Valverde was asked in October whether he felt a reunion could materialise. While his response was open-ended, the tactician conceded it was "hard and unlikely" to come about, via Goal:

PSG are 13 points clear at the summit of Ligue 1 but weren't far from failing to progress past their UEFA Champions League group ahead of Napoli and Liverpool. They face Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United in the round of 16 and are hoping to make it past the quarter-finals for the first time since 1995.

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