Barcelona President Downbeat on Neymar, Lautaro Transfers

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has offered a pessimistic update on the club’s hopes of signing Neymar and Lautaro Martinez this summer.

Bartomeu told Albert Masnou and Javier Giraldo at Sport that as things stand there is no chance of being able to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou from French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

“In the current situation, no. PSG don’t want to sell either, which makes sense as he’s one of the best players in the world. Last summer we tried really hard (to sign him) but this summer we won’t even try.

“The club lost €200m between March and June. In the 2020/21 season, we expected to earn €1100m but that’s likely to be 30% less now.  If the situation doesn’t improve, they won’t be people in the stands, at the museum or the shops and we’ll keep losing money. This will cause us to revise our spending plans and which ones can wait. We have to adapt.”

The Barcelona president was also downbeat about a potential move for Inter striker Martinez. He reiterated again that negotiations with the Nerazzurri have been put on hold but warned the club are not in a position to spend big.

“Barça have spoken to Inter about Lautaro over the last few weeks but the conversations have been put on hold by mutual consent. The current situation doesn’t allow for major transfer fees.”

Martinez had a €111 million ($130m) release clause in his contract which has now expired. Barcelona want to include players in any potential deal to bring the price down but Inter “would prefer cash,” according to ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.

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Barcelona to Trust in Youth Instead?

Barcelona’s financial situation means the club may not be able to bring in big-names this summer and could force the Catalan giants to trust in youth.

The club have already agreed deals for 20-year-old Braga forward Francisco Trincao, while 17-year-old Pedri is also due to arrive from Las Palmas.

Bartomeu has also talked up starlet Ansu Fati, describing the 17-year-old as crucial to the club’s future.

“Ansu isn’t for sale and is indispensable for the future of the club. He represents La Masia as someone who comes through the academy, learns and consolidates his place in the first team. He made the jump from the Juvenil side to the first team and there aren’t many players like him. Barça can’t sell Ansu, even if it might feel like an option to balance the books during a pandemic. We never considered letting him go.”

The teenager broke onto the scene in 2019-20 in impressive style, forcing his way into the first team and going on to score eight goals in all competitions.

Barcelona’s financial situation could be good news for the young attacking trio who look certain to see more game time at the Camp Nou next season if the club decide against dipping into the transfer market.

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