LIONEL MESSI thinks Barcelona have room for both Antoine Griezmann and Neymar this summer.
That’s according to football consultant Ian McGarry, who thinks there is ‘a very big and serious question’ for any club willing to spend over £180m on Paris St-Germain superstar Neymar.
Barcelona finally completed the signing of Griezmann yesterday, activating the £108m release clause in his contract at Atletico Madrid.
The Frenchman, 28, has joined Ernesto Valverde’s side on a five-year deal – and Brazilian ace Neymar could yet join him at the Nou Camp, with PSG sporting director Leonardo admitting earlier this week that they are prepared to sell their star man for the right price amid reports linking him with a return to Spain.
Signing the two would represent a huge financial outlay for the champions of Spain while also giving boss Valverde a serious selection headache in attack, but McGarry claims Messi is adamant Barca can find room for both men.
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“Is there room for Griezmann and Neymar at Barcelona? Certainly Lionel Messi thinks there is”
Speaking on The Transfer Window podcast before Griezmann sealed his switch to Barca, McGarry said: “It certainly would be an intriguing situation if [Real] Madrid were to enter the race for Neymar as it were.
“It seems unlikely. They bought Hazard for £130m and the fact that Neymar seems in all reality to prefer a move back to the Camp Nou to resurrect what has become a bit of a shambles in terms of his career and personal life, a move to Madrid would be unlikely.
“However as we know, generally speaking you can’t rule anything out, because Barcelona are currently having a strange old time with regards to the negotiation process for Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, who you would have thought would be someone who, let’s face it, plays in Neymar’s position to a certain extent, so is there room for Griezmann and Neymar at Barcelona?
“Certainly Lionel Messi thinks there is. It certainly would be some frontline if that were the case, that they were to recruit both.
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“However, I think there’s a very big and serious question about anyone willing to pay over €200m [£180m] for Neymar and then of course salary demands as well.”
Neymar left Barca to join PSG in a world-record £200m switch back in 2017.
However, the French outfit have failed to make it past the Champions League last-16 in each of the Brazilian’s two seasons in Paris, and now reports suggest he is targeting a move back to Spain.
But journalist Duncan Castles has shed light on why Barca’s arch-rivals Real Madrid are also in the running to sign him.
“I think for sure from [president] Florentino Perez’s perspective, there’s still a desire to have Neymar at Real Madrid,” he said.
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“I think a big part of it is it’s almost the forbidden fruit for him. It’s the player that he feels he should have signed when he was at Santos, the deal famously falling apart and him losing the player to Barcelona.
“He’s talked many times in a way that would encourage Neymar to come to Madrid. Talking after a Ballon d’Or ceremony, to the media saying that the player’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or himself would be greatly improved if he became a Madrid player.
“There’s been work behind the scenes on that almost the entire time he’s been in European football, but it’s never actually come to fruition.
“So I think there will be an element of regret that he doesn’t have Neymar. I am told that they are carefully monitoring the situation with Barcelona, they’re aware that there are major financial difficulties involved in Barcelona taking both Griezmann and Neymar in one summer.”
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