The relationship between Neymar and Paris Saint Germain is fully broken. After only two years in the French capital, it seems that the Brazilian is on the verge of heading back to Spain. That is what Leonardo, has confirmed. PSG’s sporting director, in an encounter with a few journalists, stated that ‘the transfer talks for Neymar are well advanced’.
However, the real question here is not whether he heads to Barcelona or Real Madrid; but rather whom of the two Spanish giants needs him more.
Neymar at Barcelona
Fc Barcelona just recently acquired Antoine Griezmann. The French forward joined an already lethal line of offence, amongst Luis Suarez, “La Pulga” Messi and also Dembele and Coutinho. Unless the last two are included in Neymar’s transfer deal, it is very hard to find a game plan that fits all those names without unbalancing the team defensively.
In terms of offensive power, Barça had the most prolific attack last season in La Liga, scoring 90 goals with an average of 2.4 goals per game. No doubt, the numbers were much higher in the “MSN” era, when they averaged 3.1 goals per game in Neymar’s last season as a Blaugrana. Nonetheless, the Catalans ended up winning the championship both seasons.
The main narrative of a culé regarding Neymar’s return is the Champions League. Barcelona’s last European title dates back to when the Brazilian formed part of the club back in 2015. Barça failed since then to reach another final, and the fan base, at least, believes that a top player like Neymar can help them achieve that. He contributed with Barcelona in Europe with 21 goals in 30 games and 15 assists.
Given the manner in which PSG lured Neymar away from Barcelona, by paying his 222 million euros release clause, the matter looks much more personal than sports-related, for Bartomeu and his administration. It has to do with restoring the club’s image, by highlighting how that transfer was wrong in the first place. It does seem to us neutral supervisors, that Barcelona might want Neymar back as a matter of principle. Thus restoring the ego of many supporters who were heartbroken to see him leave.
Neymar at Real Madrid
Real Madrid are in a dire need of an overhaul, and most importantly a leader. After a horrific season, the demands are high on the club for a total reconstruction. Although they have been very active in the transfer market, managing to sign top players like Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic. The team’s pre-season has proven that the crisis is far from over, losing four of the seven games played including a humiliating 7-3 defeat to historical rivals Atlético.
After Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure, the team lost all of its offensive potential. Real Madrid only managed to score 63 goals in La Liga last year, averaging 1.2 goals per game only. Compared to 2.5 goals per game rate just the year before.
Despite Hazard being a fast, technical player, he was never the top scorer Cristiano was. During his last year with Chelsea, he scored 16 goals in 32 games, but it is fair to say that he also contributed with 15 assists. By bringing Neymar, Real Madrid will get a true offensive leader, which can both score and combine. In fact, in his 4 years in La Liga, the Brazilian N°10 scored 68 goals in 112 games, providing 38 assists. That means he was involved in 106 goals in almost as many games. We can add to that the 34 goals in 36 games he netted in two years playing in Ligue 1.
This kind of efficiency in front of goal is what has been lacking in Real Madrid for the past year. The only issue from a tactical standpoint is whether Neymar can fit in Madrid’s starting eleven or not. Los Blancos have been trying to sell a few of their big names, perhaps to make room for such a transfer to occur. Gareth Bale seems to be the one to be sacrificed alongside James Rodriguez.
Considering the importance of a defensive central midfielder in Real Madrid’s block, it’s very unlikely that Casemiro sits out to allow Neymar in. Therefore, we might be seeing more of a 4-1-2-1-2 formation, with Kroos and Modric as pure relay midfielders, Hazard playing behind the two strikers: Neymar and Karim Benzema.
It is fairly obvious which of the two Spanish clubs really needs the services of such a striker as Neymar Jr. It would not be as shocking as previous transfers between the two clubs, as the Brazilian has always been linked to la casa Blanca since his young days at Santos. In order to compete with the two striking powers of Atelti and Barça, Real Madrid might want to make this transfer an unexpected priority.