Josep Maria Bartomeu claims ‘there’s no Neymar case’ and believes Dembele is better than the Brazilian
- Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists club will not sign Neymar
- He wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain but Bartomeu said they don’t want to sell
- Neymar left Barcelona for France in a world record £200million deal in 2017
- Bartomeu also confirmed the club were in negotiations over Antoine Griezmann
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has said the club are not trying to sign Neymar because Paris Saint Germain do not want to sell him.
He also admitted that Barcelona has opened negotiations with Atletico Madrid to sign Antoine Griezmann.
In a press conference ahead of the presentation of Frenkie De Jong from Ajax Bartomeu also said the club were not interested in letting Ousmane Dembele or Philippe Coutinho leave the club this summer and said Messi had not asked them to bring back Neymar.
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is reportedly keen to leave the club and return to Spain
In a 30 minute press conference Bartomeu made it clear that PSG’s reluctance to allow Neymar to leave meant any discussion of his possible return to the Camp Nou not worth pursuing.
He said: ‘We know that he wants to leave Paris Saint Germain but we know that they don’t want him to leave so there is no case [to answer].’
His words will put the brakes on all talk of Neymar returning although the door has been left open – if PSG decide to sell Neymar then the president did not rule out an interest from Barcelona.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted the club will not re-sign Neymar
One player who is on his way is Griezmann. Bartomeu said: ‘[On Thursday] Oscar Grau met with [Atletico CEO Miguel Angel] Gil Marin in Madrid to see if it was possible e to negotiate. We ask them that if it were possible to negotiate a transfer.’
Barcelona do not have to negotiate for Griezmann. They could just pay his 120m euros buy-out clause but the discussions suggest they will try to offer more in return for paying in installments or by offering a player. Atletico are interested in signing Barça full-back Nelson Semedo.
If PSG do get so tired of Neymar this summer that they decide to sell then Barcelona would be forced to use Dembele and Coutinho as part of the deal but Bartomeu backed both players to be a success at Barcelona.
Asked about a previous comment that Dembele was ‘better than Neymar’ he said: ‘I still think that.
‘He’s young and very talented. He has a lot of room to grow and we want him to do it here at Barça. He is the cornerstone of our project and our future watching him play is a pleasure.’
Bartomeu backed Ousmane Dembele to continue his progress and shine for Barcelona
When he was pushed further on Neymar he said: ‘ We don’t talk about players that belong to other clubs but did elaborate when asked why he knew Neymar wanted to leave PSG.
He said: ‘I know what I have read in the press. We have contact with Nasser [Al Khelafi] in meetings and committees but he has not told us himself. What we know about Neymar we know from the press.’
Bartomeu also denied Lionel Messi had requested the signing. He said: ‘We need to end this myth that he does that. Messi has never asked us to sign anyone. The players want us to be competitive.’
Barcelona held a meeting over signing Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann
Asked if it were true that Barcelona had tried to tap-up Griezmann in March when his buy-out was still 200m euros he said: ‘This one [on Thursday] was the first meeting.’
He also supported the Frenchman over what is effectively a change of heart 12 months on from his decision to stay at Atletico Madrid.
He said: ‘It’s not the first time that in the first year it does not happen and then in the second year it does. It happened with [Thierry] Henery, David Villa and Cesc Fabrgas. Circumstances change.’
Coutinho is another player who would have to be sold to pay for Neymar’s return but Bartomeu added: ‘From the moment Coutinho and Dembele were signed they have been key players. They are a big investment and important for the coach.’
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