Whenever a big transfer is mooted, the word overdrive is always thrown around. Overdrive, like ‘legend’ or ‘superstar’ has been thrown around so much in football that it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.
However, if reports that PSG are set to buy Neymar for €220 Euros are true, then overdrive would not be enough, the market would kick into hyperdrive.
Not only would it be more than double the world record for a transfer fee, but it would also see a player move from one of the biggest clubs in the world without that club wanting him to leave.
Barcelona have lost great players before, Sanchez and Pedro spring to mind, but top players tend to leave when Barcelona want them to, not when they are first team regulars.
There are conflicting claims to just how likely Neymar is to join PSG with some outlets like Radio Catalyuna saying that Neymar wants to go and has told people that he would like to go while others such as The Independent suggesting that Barcelona will be able to keep hold of their Brazilian star.
While the deal is far from certain, it is worth considering how Barcelona could look to replace Neymar, the way I see it they have three options.
Option One: Push the boat out for star names:
Marca notes that Barcelona remains interested in the Italian and with €220 million euros burning a hole in their pocket, Barcelona could afford to pay whatever PSG wanted.
They have struggled to find a real replacement for Xavi and Verratti has the class and ability to fill that void.
Of course, signing a midfielder would not be able to replace Neymar’s goals and assists output, so on top of signing the Italian for, according to Marca €100 million Barcelona could look to spend up to €120 million on a striker, which, coincidently is about what Monaco value Kylian Mbappe at, or at least that is what goal.com reckons.
It seems like a good fit, Mbappe could learn from Suarez and Messi and then when both of them are ready to step aside Mbappe will be at a level where he can take over.
Option Two: Find the new Neymar:
With the rise of super clubs spending super amounts, it seems unlikely that Barcelona would go digging in South America for a diamond in the rough.
However they are set to spend around €600 million on renovating their stadium so saving some money might appeal to their President, Josep Bartomeu.
Instead of spending all the money on players, perhaps Barcelona’s scouting system could turn up a player or even two or three to come over to Europe and make their mark at Barcelona.
Barcelona, of course, have both Messi and Neymar as examples of what they can do with South American talent, their rivals, Real Madrid recently snapped up 16-year-old Vincus Junior suggesting they feel there is potential in the South American market.
Possible signings include Jesus Medina, Sebastian Drussi or Jefferson Savarino, none of them could replace Neymar straight away, but they all have huge potential.
Option Three: La Masia:
Barcelona’s feted youth academy has often helped them deal with the loss of big players, Ronaldinho’s departure was eased by Messi’s arrival; Pep Guardiola was replaced by Xavi and Pedro helped soften the blow when both Eto’o and Henry departed. Perhaps they could look to their talent factory to turn up another replacement if Neymar leaves.
While things have dried up a little at La Masia after a golden generation turned up Xavi, Iniesta, Valdes, Pique, Fabregas and Messi amongst other super players, there are still some excellent young players with huge potential. Three particularly well thought of players are, Lee Seung-Woo and Carles Alena. Both of them can play in attacking positions with Seung-Woo seen as a particular talent after scoring seven goals in just sixteen games for South Korea U-20’s despite only turning 19 earlier this year.
If Barcelona do lose Neymar, it will, of course, be very hard to replace him however what is clear is that with money in their pocket and a wealth of talent in their academy Barcelona could survive without him.