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Barcelona move for Neymar in January ruled out by Bartomeu

21:10 BST 06/09/2019
Neymar PSG
The club chief also rubbished reports that the squad had attempted to veto the move for Antoine Griezmann, but admitted Matthijs de Ligt was a target

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says the La Liga champions won’t be making a renewed move for Neymar in the January transfer window, despite doing "everything possible" to sign him.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward was a target for Barca throughout the summer but, despite weeks of speculation, didn’t get his desired move.

It had been suggested that Barca could swap players like Ousmane Dembele or Ivan Rakitic to re-sign their former star, but Bartomeu said no such formal offer was made.

He also moved to rubbish speculation the Barca players had any influence in the club's efforts to secure the return of the Brazil attacker. 

"Neymar can't join Barca in January, and the Barca dressing room doesn't decide anything,” Bartomeu told Barca TV.

“We did everything possible to sign Neymar. We didn’t offer any specific player in exchange. We did talk about exchanges but all the names were given by PSG.

“Without an exchange of players, the offer was to loan Neymar for a year with a mandatory purchase option at the end of the season.

"I know other clubs were also negotiating with PSG. At one point during the negotiations, Neymar asked PSG to only negotiate with Barca. He decided only to join Barca.

"Neymar did what he had to do, he told his club about his decision, he did everything possible, but this year he will play at PSG."

Bartomeu added that he felt his squad was already complete prior to PSG opening the door for negotiations – but that the Brazilian would have been a welcome further addition.

Lionel Messi had been rumoured to have requested a reunion with his former team-mate but Bartomeu was adamant that the playing squad have no say in prospective transfers.

He also dismissed claims that the team hadn’t wanted the club to sign Antoine Griezmann, but admitted that defender Matthijs de Ligt had turned the club down before signing for Juventus.

“Messi didn’t ask me to sign Neymar,” Bartomeu said. “It was an opportunity in the market because he is a great player, and the board agreed to see what we could do to bring him back.

“The dressing room does not have a say on transfers, and they did not veto Griezmann.”

Barcelona will hope to be back with a bang after the international break, immediately facing difficult clashes with Valencia and Borussia Dortmund as they look to kick their spluttering season into gear.

One win, one draw and one defeat so far mean Ernesto Valverde’s side sit eighth in the Spanish top-flight table with three games played.