Bartomeu: Tito affected Neymar deal

Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed that Tito Vilanova's request for Neymar to arrive a year earlier was the reason behind the forward's inflated transfer fee.

A video excerpt of last month's High Court testimonies, released by Cadena SER, shows the President flagging up the former Barca Coach, who died last April.

“We spoke to our Coach, who at the time was Tito Vilanova, and he asked us if we could push forward the player's arrival by one year because the team were missing a player like Neymar,” he began.

“He wanted to push [the transfer] forward to [the summer of] 2013 instead of bringing him in during the summer of 2014, as originally planned.

“The intention of Neymar's family was to finish the World Cup and leave their country [Brazil at that point], but we wanted to meet the requests of our Coach.

“Sandro [Rosell], who had a good relationship with [Neymar's] father, spoke to him in June and reached an agreement to bring [Neymar] to Barcelona one year ahead of schedule.

“Tito told us he wanted us to strengthen the team's defence and attack. He asked for a centre-back and striker – Neymar.

“The Coaches don't care about how much players cost. He told us we had only one dominant player [Lionel Messi] and that he no longer wanted David Villa.

“[He said], 'I want you to sell David Villa and sign Neymar as the [replacement] forward. If Neymar can't come, we must continue with David Villa because he has another year left on his contract'.

“We understood his demands. He made them in February 2013, when he was having his chemotherapy in New York.”

Bartomeu also revealed in the video that Vilanova's alleged demands meant the transfer fee ballooned to the tune of €42m, while maintaining he did not participate in any negotiations.

Furthermore, the 52-year-old compared Neymar's arrival to Real Madrid's coup of David Beckham in 2003 as a result of the numerous sponsors posing obstacles.

Nonetheless, Bartomeu, along with Rosell and the club, will all stand trial for tax fraud and administrative irregularities in relation to the Brazilian's signing from Santos two years ago.

According to AS, Neymar's transfer fee could yet snowball to as much as €150m if prospective fines and taxes are accounted for.

Tags Josep Maria Bartomeu Neymar Sandro Rosell Santos Tito Vilanova Transfers