Sources: Barcelona to make Neymar loan offer
Barcelona are set to make an offer to sign Neymar on loan from Paris Saint-Germain this week with an option to make the deal permanent next summer, sources have told ESPN FC.
Sources close to the Catalan club have explained that no players are likely to be included in the offer, while discussions are ongoing as to how much they will suggest for the price of a transfer in 2020.
Coutinho has joined Bayern on a season-long loan. The Bundesliga side will pay Barca €8.5 million and will also pay all of the Brazil international's wages. They have an option to make the loan permanent next year for €120m.
Barca, therefore, have had to change tack. Sources at the club have explained to ESPN FC that after several internal meetings last week, they have decided to copy Bayern's strategy. They will re-establish contact with PSG in the coming days to make the loan offer for Neymar, who left the club for the French champions in a world record €222m deal in 2017.
They had always hoped that Coutinho's inclusion in a potential deal would bring the cost down, but his move to Bayern has complicated things. PSG don't want the other players Barca are prepared to offer and Barca don't want to include Nelson Semedo or Ousmane Dembele in a cash-plus-player deal.
Barca met with PSG officials in Paris last week with the aim of convincing sporting director Leonardo of sending Neymar back to them, but their first offer was not deemed good enough.
Sources have told ESPN FC that the offer was worth €80m plus Coutinho and midfielder Ivan Rakitic. PSG said no and suggested €120m plus Coutinho and Semedo.
Barca would have gone to €100m. Rakitic was hesitant to be included in any operation, though, and Coutinho's move to Germany has now definitively ended that line of negotiation.
Sources close to Neymar have told ESPN FC that the PSG forward's advisers feel Coutinho's Bayern loan is a huge setback. He was seen as one of the keys to unlocking the deal.
However, Barca have not given up on signing Neymar even though high-ranking officials have told ESPN FC "it will be complicated," especially given the threat of Real Madrid.
Madrid are the only other club with an interest in signing Neymar before the transfer window shuts. Players at the club have already spoken with Neymar to say he would be welcome at the Bernabeu, with the club's interest increasing following a failure to land Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.
Barcelona have a certain advantage because Neymar would still prefer to return to Camp Nou, but he has not closed the door on Madrid if that doesn't happen. For that reason, he's maintained his silence despite Barca's desire for him to speak out in public -- as alluded to by Gerard Pique two weeks ago.