Barcelona would benefit from Neymar return, admits sporting director Abidal
- February 13, 2020
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The sporting director agrees with coach Quique Setien that the Brazilian would improve the team if he were to return to Camp Nou
Neymar’s return would hand Barcelona a huge boost, according to sporting director Eric Abidal.
The Brazil superstar left Camp Nou for PSG in a world-record transfer in August 2017 but has been persistently linked with a move back to Barca.
Head coach Quique Setien said last week he would relish the chance to coach the Neymar and Abidal believes such a deal might be possible.
Asked for his opinion on Neymar coming back to the Catalan giants, Abidal told Mundo Deportivo : “I totally agree.
“Quique would be proud to be able to coach a player like Neymar and the others here who are of such a high level.”
Barca have been left short in attack by serious injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, though Ansu Fati impressed with a double in a 2-1 victory over Levante last weekend.
On the effect signing Neymar could have on Fati, Abidal said: “That’s why planning is not so easy. We may wish to have all the best players, but we can’t make a mistake in the development of players.
“Since Ansu broke into the first team, he’s contributed a lot. In the last [La Liga] game, he showed his talent again. He’s a player who can play in many positions and you have to take that into account.
“I think the player is 100 per cent with us, with the first team, and has the goal of staying here for many years.”
Barca could help fund a move for Neymar by letting Philippe Coutinho make his loan at Bayern permanent, which the Bundesliga giants can achieve by activating a €120 million (£102m/$131m) option.
However, it has been reported this week that Barca would be willing to consider an offer at €80m (£68m/$88m).
“The information we have is that Bayern are very happy with Philippe and Philippe is also very happy there,” said Abidal.
“It’s true they have an option [to buy him], but we have to plan perfectly with those who are in house and on loan, and then we’ll see.”
Another player who could be heading for the exit at Camp Nou is Ivan Rakitic, who accused the club of a lack of respect and was disappointed by the treatment of former coach Ernesto Valverde.
“I don’t know in what sense of respect he spoke about,” said Abidal, who believes Rakitic remains content at Barca.
“For a player, the most important thing is to have minutes. He’s gone through a difficult moment with Valverde, now we have changed coach. It’s something for the coach, because I can’t manage playing minutes for a player.
“We have respect because we haven’t spoken with anybody, and neither has he, it seems. He said he planned to leave but in the end he decided to stay at Barca and if he did that, it’s because there is a percentage of satisfaction.”