Barcelona paying €7.9 million to Santos for first refusal on three of the Brazilian club’s youngsters was not part of the complex deal through which Neymar was secured this summer, according to the club's vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Bartomeu maintains that the payment should not be seen as part of Neymar’s final €57 million price, but an ‘advance’ on a future transfer fee should any of the three attacking starlets end up at the Camp Nou.
The blaugrana executive explained the situation to reporters at a Camp Nou press conference on Tuesday.
"We have a global collaboration agreement with Santos for €7.9 million and preferential rights to three young footballers," Bartomeu said. "We will not mention any names so as not to draw attention to them. If any of them come here, then that amount will be an advance payment on their future transfer fee."
Marca subsequently claimed that the three players in question were 17-year-old forward Gabriel, 20-year-old striker Giva and 17-year-old winger Victor Andrade. The Madrid-based paper also says that should Barca decide not to sign the players, Santos still keep all the money.
Bartomeu also confirmed that €17.1 million of the Neymar fee was paid directly to Santos for his ‘playing rights’, with the rest paid to companies he preferred not to name.
"Santos have freed us from the confidentiality agreement but one of the companies involved did not," he said.
Barca’s Gamper Trophy game against Santos, played at the Camp Nou on August 2, is thought to have been the first of two lucrative friendlies between the clubs agreed as another element of the final transfer package.
Controversy over the deal has continued in Brazil, with some of the ‘investors’ previously involved with the player unhappy that their ‘cut’ from the deal was coming from Santos’ €17 million and not the full €57 million as they had hoped.
El Pais claimed again on Wednesday that the majority of the other €40 million went to Neymar’s father.