Yesterday, Barcelona announced the gigantic news that Brazilian forward, Neymar, is to join the Blaugrana on a five-year contract this summer, putting an end to years of speculation as to where he’ll go. Santos received two offers for their prodigy, the other widely assumed to be Real Madrid.
Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, said on the Barcelona club website: “We don’t sign players to smack people around, we do it to improve our team even more. Each year we try to improve the team and we believe that Neymar can help us with our style [of play], even though this year has been fantastic.”
What does the signing of Neymar mean? It tells me that Barcelona haven’t yet signed players in areas that are in great need of construction work. A new right-back is needed, as are two centre-backs and a goalkeeper to replace to outgoing Victor Valdes. Neymar is an exceptionally talented football player, but there is a lot he still needs to learn tactically and playing for Barcelona will come as something as a culture shock for him, as it did Cesc Fabregas when he moved from Arsenal. There is an intense learning curve to playing for Barcelona and not everybody is capable of handling it.
Don’t get me wrong, Neymar is a world class talent. I do have my doubts over how he will fit in and perform for Barcelona, but I’ve had those doubts before. What I am convinced of however, is the resulting transfer shopping dash that is destined to happen with the arrival of Neymar.
David Villa is now a certainty to leave, with Tottenham Hotspur currently getting a measure of his situation. Arsenal were interested in signing Villa in January, but Arsene Wenger has apparently “moved on” from Villa and is now pursuing other targets. Manchester United are reported to have an interest in signing ex-Arsenal midfielder, Cesc Fabregas. Arsenal however, have first option on re-signing Fabregas should Barcelona accept an offer, so any Manchester United move could quickly be scrapped if Arsenal decide to re-sign Fabregas.
Finally, Alexis Sanchez would appear to be the third player affected by Neymar. Alexis has just endured a poor season and it is widely understood that Barcelona are looking to sell him. Juventus are amongst his admirers, although if Barcelona make it clear they want to sell, there would be a massive dog fight between a lot of clubs to secure Alexis’ signature.