Deploying the unstoppable attack of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar has afforded Barcelona hardware and riches for more than the last 18 months, but in order to continue that dominance on all fronts the Spanish club will have to settle down and finalize a contract extension for the still budding Brazilian.
However, the question of whether a new has been struck between Neymar and Barcelona already remains a topic for hot debate. Reports claimed he was set to remain with the club until 2016, but his father and agent, the elder Neymar, denied a deal was in place.
"We hope that Neymar renews his contract," Neymar Sr. said to AS. "He still has two more years left and the fans can be relaxed during this time. Now we will begin to talk, but we have not sat down yet. We have spent so much time defending ourselves from accusations that it was too early to talk about renewing the contract.
"We are relaxed with all that we are doing at Barcelona and I believe the club are too. We will speak with [Barca president Josep Maria] Bartomeu in May and come up with a path for Neymar and Barca to take together."
According to reports, the two sides struck a deal back in December at the Club World Cup in Japan but there’s been no official confirmation of an extension as Neymar continues to battle legal woes involving his transfer from Brazil’s Santos to Camp Nou back in 2013.
Earlier this month, Neymar testified in a Spanish court over allegations his transfer fee was under-reported and later a Brazilian court froze £36 million worth of his assets as the tax evasion investigation continues.
Neymar has two years remaining on his contract and a £150 million release clause. If a new deal isn't reached within a year, Barcelona may consider offers so that they don't lose him for nothing. The famed club may want to retain Neymar, but the high price may mean they would have to part ways with either Suarez or Messi.
"Barcelona received a proposal last year and they rejected it," Neymar Sr. said of a Neymar transfer deal. "These offers are returning now and Barca are prepared to reject them. But these offers are coming not just for Neymar, also for [Luis] Suarez and [Lionel] Messi..."
While Messi nursed a serious knee injury at the beginning of the current campaign, it was Neymar and Suarez who picked up the slack and kept Barcelona well above water until the Argentine returned. Altogether, Neymar’s totaled 26 goals and 18 assists in 37 appearances across all competitions this term, and Barcelona remain in line to repeat as Champions League, La Liga, and Spanish Cup champions.
The idea of Messi moving on hasn’t been floated. But Barcelona may have no choice but consider a transfer deal for either Neymar or Messi soon, with both players set to earn a massive pay increase that will total a combined £19 million. That staggering figures could penalize the club due to Financial Fair Play guidelines.
The growing threat of more penalties may force Barcelona to focus solely on keeping Messi happy and well paid. The 28-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or-winner inked a “revised” contract with Barcelona back in May 2014. It included a higher per-season salary, and assured the club he would remain at Camp Nou well beyond 2018.