Zone Blitz: Are Barcelona doing the right thing by trying to re-sign Neymar?

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharack&Lance Whittaker July 18, 2019

It's said you should never go back to your ex but Barcelona and Neymar could be a re-marriage made in heaven.

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  • Rumour Has It: Man Utd contact Sancho's agent, Chelsea ready to offer Donnarumma huge deal Rumour Has It: Man Utd contact Sancho's agent, Chelsea ready to offer Donnarumma huge deal

    Jadon Sancho is the name on everyone's lips.

    The Borussia Dortmund teenager has taken Europe by storm and clubs are queuing up.

    But Manchester United are reportedly at the front of the line.

     

    TOP STORY – UNITED IN TOUCH WITH SANCHO AGENT

    Manchester United have contacted Jadon Sancho's agent as they look to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation, according to Fabrizio Romano.

    Sancho tops the list of United's transfer targets following his exploits for the Bundesliga side, with Liverpool and Chelsea also reportedly interested.

    But Dortmund – who will not stand in Sancho's way of a departure – are unwilling to budge on their €110million (£98m) valuation.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Tuttosport reports Chelsea are preparing a huge contract offer for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. It comes as the Blues reportedly look to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga.

    Juventus are interested in Achraf Hakimi, says Calciomercato. Achraf is set to return to Real Madrid following a two-year loan spell at Dortmund. Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked to the Moroccan full-back.

    Inter have named their price for Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez, Calciomercato reports. With a release clause of €111m, Inter want at least €80m in cash.

    - Birmingham City's 16-year-old star Jude Bellingham is set to reject a transfer to United in favour of Dortmund, says Bild.

    Tottenham and Arsenal, along with Crystal Palace and West Ham, are eyeing Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, according to Team Talk.

    - Calciomercato claims Inter have not given up on signing Napoli forward Dries Mertens on a free transfer. The Belgian star is out of contract at the end of 2019-20.

    Madrid is the preferred option for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga, says Marca. Liverpool, Dortmund and PSG have also emerged as possible suitors for the 17-year-old.

    - Corriere dello Sport says Valencia are eyeing Inter centre-back Diego Godin, who has been linked to United and Tottenham.

    Roma are lining up a move for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, says Diario AS. Clubs in Brazil and Qatar are also reportedly circling.

  • Coronavirus: Messi never opposed Barca pay cuts – Bartomeu Coronavirus: Messi never opposed Barca pay cuts – Bartomeu

    Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said Lionel Messi agreed with pay cuts at the LaLiga champions, after the captain criticised senior club figures behind the scenes.

    Barca confirmed a massive wage cut to help the club during the coronavirus pandemic, with players agreeing to reduce their salaries by 70 per cent and making further financial contributions to ensure all employees are able to take home the full value of their wages.

    The news came following reports of a disagreement between senior Barca players and club directors over the degree of wage reduction, with Messi denying the squad turned down the team's proposal to reduce salaries.

    Bartomeu said Messi never opposed Barca's decision to carry out salary cuts, telling SPORT: "Messi told me from day one that this reduction had to be made.

    "This proposal came from the captains. It is a gesture that demonstrates their commitment to the club."

    Messi issued a statement on behalf of the players on Monday, which was soon shared by other members of the first-team squad, in which he insisted they had always been happy to reduce their pay in order to help the club and its staff during the nationwide lockdown, with LaLiga under indefinite suspension while Spain attempts to arrest the spread of COVID-19.

    The message accused those in charge of Barca of placing the players under unfair levels of scrutiny while negotiations over wage cuts continued.

    Bartomeu added: "Perhaps [the players] have been frustrated by things said by people inside and outside the club, who do not have all the information.

    "But the negotiations were carried out only by Oscar Grau and me and we have not said anything."

  • Martinez ignoring Barca and Madrid to focus on Inter – agent Martinez ignoring Barca and Madrid to focus on Inter – agent

    Lautaro Martinez is focused on Inter amid growing links to Barcelona and Real Madrid, according to his agent Beto Yaque.

    Martinez is a player in demand following his exploits for Inter, with Barca reportedly keen to sign the Argentina international as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

    Barca's LaLiga rivals Madrid are also interested, while Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City have both been linked.

    But Yaque said Martinez – who had scored 16 goals across all competitions before Serie A was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic – is not distracted.

    "It's been said that Barcelona and Real Madrid both want him, but for him it's like nothing is happening. Others wouldn't sleep at night," Yaque told Radio del Plata.

    "He never calls me to ask if the rumours are true, he's focused on where he is and his work.

    "We've talked to lots of people, but nothing more than that. For now, those who are calling me aren't directly registered by various clubs.

    "There's nothing formal or serious. Being wanted on the market is something you dream of, but he's not expecting anything: all he wants to do is play and score goals.

    "His constant growth means the best teams in the world are looking at Lautaro with interest. We hope his efforts will be rewarded like they deserve to."

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