Barcelona chief Josep Maria Bartomeu had planned to complete the signings of Neymar and Lautaro Martinez earlier this year before the coronavirus crisis called football to a halt. Now the La Liga giants are plunged into crisis and can no longer afford to finance the deals, meaning they may have to settle for cheaper alternatives.
Having missed out on the title to Real Madrid, Barcelona know there is work to do to catch their rivals, particularly in the transfer market.
They need to make an addition that elevates the dressing room with Lionel Messi evidently deflated by the way this season has panned out.
For a while, he has longed for a reunion with Neymar in Catalonia.
The Brazilian has been unsettled during several transfer windows while in France with Paris Saint-Germain.
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He has been keen on a return to Spain but the operation is easier said than done given just how much it would cost to bring him back.
Now Bartomeu has admitted that it would be virtually impossible to facilitate the transfer due to the impact of COVID-19.
“In this situation, it is unfeasible,” Bartomeu said.
“Nor do PSG want to sell him, [which] is normal because he is one of the best players in the world. Last summer we tried very hard, but this summer there will be no attempt.
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“The situation is what it is: the club lost €200m between March and June. And in the 2020/2021 season, we expected to raise €1.1 billion [in revenue], but surely we will have 30 percent less.
“If the pandemic situation does not improve, there will be no crowd [at the games], no museum, no stores, and money will continue to be lost.
“It forces us to be very rigorous in management: we must review which investments are essential and which can wait. You have to adapt.”
Barcelona stance will also prevent them from landing Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez.
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The Argentine is seen as the ideal replacement for Luis Suarez, who is approaching the final chapter in his career.
Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio has already laid down that Lautaro will only leave if his £100million release clause is met.
“As far as Martinez is concerned, there is only one way that he will leave Inter and that is by paying his clause,” Ausilio told Sky Italia.
“A clause that everyone knows – there is no point in hiding – is demanding, because it has both deadlines and commitments that must be kept very precise.
“It is a clause that expires in the early part of July so it won’t last for a long time. And it is the only possibility that exists to take Lautaro away from Inter today.”
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