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PSG Sporting Director Leonardo on Neymar Transfer: 'It All Depends on Barcelona'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2019

TOPSHOT - PSG's Brazilian forward Neymar attends a training session in Ooredoo training center in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 29, 2019. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
MARTIN BUREAU/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has said the ball is in Barcelona's court when it comes to completing a transfer for Neymar.

The Brazilian has been strongly linked with a move back to his former club throughout the summer, and it was reported by Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Sport Italia on Thursday the deal was set to go ahead.

However, speaking after PSG's clash with Metz in Ligue 1 on Friday, Leonardo said there's still a lot of work to do, per Goal:

"Our position was always clear, they always knew what we wanted, it was clear in every way. The first written offer was on August 27th, five days before end of the transfer window, we were even open to talking to other players to do the deal, but we never had an agreement on what we wanted.

"It all depends on Barcelona, we are three days from the end of the transfer window. Today, the agreement is not there. We were open but we are three days from the end of the transfer window."

Leonardo added, "If an offer that satisfied us arrived, he could leave."

Per The Spanish Football Podcast, opinion in the Spanish press is mixed on whether Barcelona will have time to get a transfer done before the deadline passes on Monday:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Today's 🇪🇸⚽ headlines: 🗞️ AS: "The last hand... the game between Barça and PSG enters extra time" 🗞️ Marca: "3 days and 155m.. Madrid reach the end of the market with room to spend" 🗞️ Mundo Deportivo: "Neymar ruled out (almost) 🗞️ Sport: "Til the end!" https://t.co/gsJzOOIlgM

Neymar moved to PSG from Barcelona in 2017, stunning many by agreeing to a world-record transfer. However, ever since his switch to Paris, the forward has regularly been linked with a move away.

While there have been some reports indicating interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona have emerged as the most likely suitors, with the club looking to add the 27-year-old to the masses of attacking talent they already possess.

The speculation has been incessant as the end of the transfer window closes in.

Per Samuel Marsden of ESPN FC, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said it's become a little tiresome for him:

Samuel Marsden @samuelmarsden

Valverde is asked how tired he is from 0-10 of the Neymar issue and the transfer market. "9.5," he jokes.

As things stand, there appears to be a strong chance that Neymar will remain at the Ligue 1 club for the upcoming campaign.

Leonardo said the relationship between the player and the club is "not ideal" at the moment, either, meaning there may be an awkward few months to follow should the transfer not go through.

Bleacher Report's Dean Jones said he can still see the transfer getting done:

Dean Jones @DeanJonesBR

The Neymar on-off deal to Barcelona is driving me mad. This player always annoys me though, on and off the pitch! At this stage I'm just gonna presume he will somehow get his way and make the move back to Spain... Even though it sounds v complicated

While Neymar's stock has fallen since his move to PSG, he has been exceptional on the pitch. As such, he would be a fantastic addition for Barcelona, especially because he's linked up to such great effect with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez previously.

But based on Leonardo's words, there's a long way to go until both clubs settle on a package they're both happy with. With time running out in the transfer market, Neymar should be prepared for spending the 2019-20 season in Paris.