The past couple of weeks have been dominated by talk and rumours of Neymar's possible move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. If the French club do swoop for the Brazilian star, calling it a game-changer for PSG and French football would be an understatement.
PSG were previously linked with Neymar but the striker penned a new five-year deal with Barca last October temporarily quelling any speculation.
But they resurfaced last month with various reports in Spain suggesting PSG were looking to lure the 25-year-old to the Parc des Princes after snapping up his international teammate Dani Alves on a free transfer.
PSG were reportedly attempting to take advantage of Neymar's desire to step out of Lionel Messi's shadow, with the French club prepared to build a team around the Brazil forward.
But for PSG to complete the transfer, there's just a small issue of a buy out clause at Barcelona of €222 million euros ($256.8 million).
So, as the conjectures continue, here's a rundown of all the reports, reactions and other updates on Neymar’s possible transfer to make sense of the whole situation.
When rumours first resurfaced, Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre insisted he was 200% certain that Neymar will be staying in Spain.
PSG coach Unai Emery made his intentions clear saying that if the French club wanted to top European powerhouses like Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid and win the Champions League, they needed a player of the calibre of Neymar.
When Neymar posted an Instagram picture of himself in thoughtful contemplation stretched out on the pitch with his chin resting on his left hand, it sparked a fresh wave of speculation.
Barca's Argentine defender Javier Mascherano said he had told Neymar to carefully weigh up the pros and cons. Mascherano added all the players, including Messi, had spoken to the player to ask him to stay.
Barcelona defender Pique, though, remained convinced that Neymar would stay at Camp Nou, but his opinion was based on "intuition" rather than inside knowledge.
This sparked further panic as fans in the city were not too confident about Neymar's future. "If you are offered double by another company, then you will go," said Salvador Pons, president of the Blaugrana fans' association.
Soon, Neymar's Barcelona teammates reportedly begged him to resist the temptation of moving to PSG after a training ground altercation with new signing Nelson Semedo.
It's a personal decision for him, but of course we want him to stay," Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta said.
Neymar's strike partner Luis Suarez echoed Iniesta's calls, saying "As soon as he clarifies the situation it's better for us and him. He will have his say when he is ready and as a teammate I will support him. Our relationship won't change. We want him to stay."
Neymar's Brazilian teammate Dani Alves hoped he would join him at PSG but insisted he wasn't using his personal friendship to sway the Barcelona forward's decision.
The two were team-mates at Barca from Neymar's arrival in 2013. "I hope it will happen. I've got nothing to do with his decision, it's a very important decision for him," said Alves. "Men have to make these kind of decisions. I hope he'll join us, he's one of my best friends and I always want my friends to be close by."
Meanwhile, La Liga chairman Javier Tebas said he would file a complaint with UEFA for financial fair play breaches against PSG. "La Liga will file this complaint because it's a problem for La Liga's competitiveness. Today it's happened to Barca, tomorrow it could happen to Real Madrid, it's happened to Atletico Madrid," Tebas told Mundo Deportivo.
Barcelona blocked payment of a €26 million ($31 million) bonus to dissuade the star from leaving. "These 26 million euros have been placed with a notary pending to see if the player continues," the source, who refused to be named, told AFP.
Neymar, who remained tight-lipped about the transfer rumours, triggered a guessing game after fulfilling a sponsor's engagement in Shanghai before returning to Barcelona on Tuesday evening.
Earlier reports claimed that he was headed from China to Doha to meet PSG's Qatari owners and pass a medical.
But being on an Emirates aircraft likely ruled out Doha as a possible destination given the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours.
According to Sport, La Liga, on Tuesday, have denied Neymar's release fee clause to be deposited in their offices due to "contractual problems" and "potential financial fair play rule breakage." Chief Tebas said, "Although PSG didn't pay the clause we will denounce them. We advised the PSG president what we were going to do and we saw PSG's policy continue along the same line. They cannot make a number in which their commercial rights are greater than those of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Nobody believes this."
Neymar's potential world record move to PSG moved a step closer on Wednesday as he informed his Barcelona teammates he is leaving the club, a Barca source told AFP.
According to a BBC report, he was given permission by Barcelona boss Valverde to skip training and "sort out his future".
Barcelona released an official statement allowing Neymar to leave the club but added that the buyout clause would have to be paid to free him from the contract.
With inputs from AFP
Published Date: Aug 02, 2017 11:56 am | Updated Date: Aug 02, 2017 05:58 pm