Skip to main content

PSG transfer news: Joan Laporta claims Neymar wanted Barcelona return

(Image credit: PA)

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed that Neymar wanted to return to the club earlier this year.

The Brazil international left the Camp Nou in 2017 to join PSG (opens in new tab) for a world-record transfer fee.

Neymar has regularly been linked with a return to Barcelona (opens in new tab) since then, having so far failed to win the Champions League with the French side.

The forward committed his future to PSG in May, though, signing a new four-year deal that ties him to the club until 2025.

Despite appearing to be settled in Paris, Laporta says Neymar still wanted to return to Barcelona as recently as spring of this year.

Following his election of the club's president in March, Laporta says he discussed a potential transfer with the Brazilian.

"We tried to sign Neymar," Laporta told TV3 (opens in new tab) in a live interview.

"At that moment [after his election victory], it seemed like an interesting signing. He got in contact. He was crazy about coming.

"We interpreted [La Liga's] fair play [rules] in another way at the time. If we had known all the rules, we would not have made that offer."

Barcelona were forced to let Lionel Messi join PSG this summer due to La Liga's regulations on wage expenditure.

Their wage bill was equal to 110 per cent of the club's revenue before Messi's departure, which meant a move for Neymar would have been a non-starter.

Laporta confirmed in the interview that the figure is still as high as 80 per cent despite the departures of Messi and Antoine Griezmann, who has returned to Atletico Madrid (opens in new tab).

"We all know what kind of player he is," Laporta said of the France international. 

"I think that in our system he does not fit, but his attitude has always been very good. Surely, though, he was not the player we needed."

Barcelona's La Liga game against Sevilla (opens in new tab), scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed due to a clash with World Cup qualifiers in South America.

Subscribe to FourFourTwo today!  (opens in new tab)Guarantee the finest football stories and interviews dropping on your doorstep first every month.

2021/22 58 things we can't wait to see this season (opens in new tab)

RETURN OF FANS How history can predict football's recovery from the pandemic (opens in new tab)

QUIZ! Can you name every team in this season's Europa League? (opens in new tab)

FourFourTwo was launched in 1994 on the back of a World Cup that England hadn’t even qualified for. It was an act of madness… but it somehow worked out. Our mission is to offer our intelligent, international audience access to the game’s biggest names, insightful analysis... and a bit of a giggle. We unashamedly love this game and we hope that our coverage reflects that.