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Wednesday June 26 2019
Barcelona should avoid Neymar return

Barcelona's pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar shows how flawed their squad planning is, as Kaustubh Pandey details.

One thing is for certain: Barcelona are being run in a very unplanned and haphazard way. The fact that they are even thinking about bringing Neymar back to the Camp Nou clearly shows that. Any such move for the Brazilian will have a huge impact not only on the transfer market this summer but sport betting news and tips across European football.

When the reliable Catalan-based journalist Gerard Romero reported that the Blaugrana were looking to bring the Brazilian back in exchange for Ousmane Dembele, it became clear how weirdly transfers are planned at the club. President Josep Maria Bartomeu would want to replace Dembele with someone who he was supposed to replace in the first place. That too was a record fee for Barcelona.

As things stand, it isn’t working out for Philippe Coutinho. It seems as though it probably never will, not under current Coach Ernesto Valverde. A player like him is meant for a free-flowing system,like how things were under Jurgen Klopp or how things could have been under a boss like Quique Setien. A system like Valverde’s restricts Coutinho’s abilities.

Having said that, it doesn’t restrict a player like Neymar. His Brazil teammate Coutinho is more of a technical outlet for teams to break open defenses than a one like Neymar - someone who relies on pace and trickery to do the same. A player with that directness will fit more into Valverde’s style than Coutinho would, if only when he plays on the left of a front three and not in the left midfield of a 4-4-2 shape.

But where will a move for Neymar leave the other players, presuming that Coutinho is offloaded? Malcom’s position remains the same. He’d still struggle for game-time and that would further bring out the deficiencies in transfer planning at the Camp Nou.

And what does it do to links with Antoine Griezmann? Signing Griezmann hardly make sense for a club which already has Lionel Messi. These are players who often occupy similar positions on the field and them playing on the same team will cause problems for not just them, but for the whole team. 

While Messi is at Barcelona, Dembele can’t break into the side playing on the right side or up front with Luis Suarez. And he doesn’t have too many supporters playing on the left, by the looks of things. And where he is in his career, he can’t afford to let his development stagnate any longer. Especially by staying at a club which doesn’t see it as a sure starter yet.

If Barcelona really are having a go at signing Neymar and/or Griezmann, they’ll have a mess to sort out in terms of who they play or who they don’t. But even if one of them arrives, it should spell an end to the Barcelona careers of both Dembele and Coutinho. That is exactly why swapping one of them for Neymar would make sense. The other can be sold for a cash deal with which Barca can strengthen other departments.

It is certainly worth speculating and everyone has to. But it sometimes seems as if Bartomeu is after star names for the very sake of the hype and attention they bring to the table. Plans about signing these players are made all of a sudden. This puts the futures of other players in jeopardy -  players who have joined the club in either world record deals two years ago or players they signed as upcoming talents a season ago. That isn’t how a club like Barcelona should be run.

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