Having dropped out of the Champions League in dramatic fashion for two years running, La Liga giants Barcelona are now desperate to make sure that they have a squad that can avoid such embarrassments in the new season.
Neymar Jr. is one player they have been linked to all summer, and reports from ESPN now claim that Barcelona are happy to offer Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic plus €100 million for the services of the Brazilian international.
The story also claims that PSG are not too keen on Rakitic and want Portuguese full-back Nelson Semedo as a part of the deal.
Barcelona are also prepared to offer Ousmane Dembele as a part of the deal if needed, but do these offers make any sense for the Catalan giants?
Can Barcelona lose those names for Neymar?
Starting with Coutinho, Barcelona are happy to get rid of the Brazilian playmaker, who has failed to make any kind of an impact in more than a year at Camp Nou. He was offered (Sun) to a couple of clubs in England on loan, and the addition of Antoine Griezmann certainly makes him dispensable.
Rakitic has turned 31, and is no longer a long-term option for the club. He was crucial for Barcelona’s success in the last few years, but the likes of Arthur, Carlos Alena, Sergi Roberto and the new arrival Frenkie de Jong will push the Croatian down the pecking order.
If he can help bring Neymar to Barcelona, Rakitic will certainly have made a huge contribution to the club as a whole this decade.
Dembele is still regarded as one of the most exciting wingers in world football. There are very few players in Europe that can replace him at Camp Nou, but Neymar is certainly one of the. So, losing Dembele for the Brazilian might not be a bad deal for Ernesto Valverde’s side.
Semedo, however, is a different story. Already tagged as ‘unsellable’ in Catalonia, the 25-year old is one of the first names on the team sheet for Valverde, and losing him will mean that Barcelona will have to find another full-back before the start of the new season.
The arrival of Neymar would make Barcelona stronger, but losing Semedo will make them weaker at the back, and would hence not be a wise decision.
Should Barcelona stick with their offer?
Coutinho and Rakitic are players Barcelona can afford to lose. Both players have had different career paths at the club, but are currently not too crucial for the squad at Camp Nou and letting them go to fetch Neymar makes a lot of sense for Barcelona, even if they still pay €100 million as a premium.
Losing Dembele may also be feasible as Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Neymar are all able attackers that can carry the team when needed.
Barcelona should, however, keep hold of Semedo, who is easily one of the best full-backs in Europe now. PSG have all the cards, so it all depends on how desperate Barcelona are to see Neymar back at the club.