Barcelona’s persistent attempts to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou are expected to continue this summer, with the Catalan club exploring a FIFA transfer regulation ?loophole in order to do so.
Neymar departed Barcelona for PSG in 2017, having scored 105 goals in 186 games during his spell in Spain.
Both Neymar and Barcelona were keen on a reunion in the 2019 summer transfer window, but a deal could not be pushed through.
According to an ESPN report, ?Barcelona will take inspiration from Andy Webster’s 2006 transfer from Hearts to Wigan Athletic in an attempt to re-sign the Brazilian.
Webster still had one year remaining on his four year deal with the Scottish side, but walked away from his contract in order to join Paul Jewell’s team.
He did this by invoking article 17 of FIFA’s transfer regulations, which states that players can leave their contracts without just cause once the three-year protection period ends.
Article 17 was introduced in 2001 to prevent the EU scrapping the transfer system, as it did not allow the freedom of movement that other workers are entitled to.
?Neymar completes the third year of his PSG deal this year, and Barcelona, Neymar and his lawyers are looking into the Webster transfer to explore how they can bring their former forward back to Camp Nou.
According to the report, Barcelona believe Neymar is ‘an incredible footballer and the natural heir to Lionel Messi’, and the La Liga leaders ‘will do everything possible to bring him back’.
The club intend to negotiate with PSG first, but should they reach no agreement – as was the case last summer – then they could use the hugely controversial article 17 method.
Following Webster’s move, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ordered Wigan to pay Hearts £150,000 – his final year of his salary at Tynecastle Park.
The move would not be without risks. Should Barcelona pursue this loophole and then cannot afford the fee that CAS or FIFA decide, the consequences would be severe.