If the latest reports are anything to go by, it’s a matter of when – not if – Neymar joins Paris Saint-Germain for a world record transfer fee this summer.
According to Carlos Carpio of Marca, the Brazilian star is subject to a €222 million offer from the French Ligue 1 side, having already verbally agreed a six-year contract in the French capital.
If the reports are true and Neymar leaves before the end of the summer transfer window, Barcelona will need to find a direct replacement. They currently don’t have anyone of his stature on their books to replace the 25-year-old on the left of their front three.
Arda Turan, Paco Alcácer, Gerard Deulofeu, nor Munir are ready to step up to the plate in my opinion, so here are three players that could replace Neymar instead:
The Liverpool forward was linked with a move to Camp Nou early last season and those rumours have only increased this summer. The Brazilian international currently plays on the left of the Reds’ front three and has lived in the city of Barcelona before – spending the second half of the 2011-12 season on loan at local rivals Espanyol.
Like Neymar, Philippe Coutinho chips in with his fair share of goals – 13 in his 31 Premier League appearances last season and 8 in 26 the year before. However, similar to the player he could replace, he doesn’t have a great record with assists and both players are prone to being greedy. Only eight players had more efforts on goal than Coutinho in the Premier League last season and five of those were strikers.
One hindrance for Barcelona is that reports suggest Liverpool are going to turn down any offers for the 25-year-old who only signed a new contract back in January – set to last until 2022.
Kylian Mbappé was a revelation for surprise French Ligue 1 champions AS Monaco last season. Still only 18 years old, the French international has already been subject to world record transfer bids from both Real Madrid and Arsenal this summer.
With Real Madrid having sold Álvaro Morata to Chelsea, they could certainly be looking for a new striker this summer to either play backup or split time with Karim Benzema in their front three. The same nationality as the Spanish champions’ manager, Mbappé could certainly choose Madrid over Barcelona.
The teenager scored 15 goals in 29 league appearances (17 starts) and six goals in his nine Champions League appearances (6 starts) for Monaco last season, in what was his first full season at professional level. Barcelona do face stiff competition from Real Madrid though, which could be their undoing.
The highly-rated Bayer Leverkusen winger can expect a move to a bigger club in the coming months. As the 2002 Champions League finalists failed to qualify for next season’s competition, he could depart as early as this summer. Julian Brandt is a talented left winger, capped 10 times by the German national team in what is arguably their greatest generation of players.
Whilst Brandt isn’t a prolific goalscorer, he is an excellent dribbler of the ball who creates a number of chances. This could be perfect for Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi in attack, though the Barcelona front three have all been regular goalscorers in recent times – Pedro and Alexis Sánchez are good examples.
Barcelona previously signed Marc-Andre ter Stegen from Germany so don’t be surprised if they purchase more talent from within the ranks of the current World Cup holders.