Barcelona are closing in on the signing of Neymar and could even wrap up a deal for the Brazilian star by the end of the week, according to Spanish publication El Mundo Deportivo. There has been growing speculation over recent days and indeed weeks that Barcelona were making inroads in pushing for a transfer to bring the forward from Santos this summer. Neymar has been unwavering in his insistence that he would not move until after the 2014 World Cup in his home country.
Barcelona’s urgency has been further increased by Real Madrid’s reported attempts to hijack a deal for the 21-year-old in the past week. It is believed that Madrid were willing to put forward an extraordinary €120 million package to land the player. A proportion of that would be due to Barcelona as compensation, as it is believed that the Blaugrana have already made a €10 million down payment for Neymar’s transfer.
But, although Madrid are prepared to offer more money, El Mundo Deportivo believes that Barcelona hold the advantage because of Neymar’s long-held desire to move to the Camp Nou. Barcelona hope to use that fact to push down the price with his Brazilian club Santos, with negotiations reportedly set to continue in the coming days.
The signing of Neymar would fulfill one of Barcelona’s priorities in the transfer market this summer and progress looks to be being made in achieving another. The Catalans’ lack of quality and depth at center-back has been laid bare at crucial stages this season but they could finally be set to address the issue with the singing of Thiago Silva.
Barcelona attempted to sign the commanding Brazil international last summer, but he had already committed himself to joining Paris Saint-Germain. Now, though, it appears his bond with the newly crowned Ligue 1 champions could be slipping. With the potential departures of manager Carlo Ancelotti and sporting director Leonardo -- Thiago Silva’s fellow Brazilian with whom he enjoys a close relationship -- El Mundo Deportivo believes that the central defender is now keen to join Barcelona.
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A move could be made difficult by the fact that he has a contract with PSG until 2017 and receives a massive salary. However, the 28-year-old is believed to be willing to force through a move and take a pay cut to join Tito Vilanova’s squad.
With continued reports that Victor Valdes will leave Barcelona this summer, despite his contract running until 2014, the Blaugrana also look set to require a new goalkeeper in the close season. There is growing speculation that the man Barcelona will recruit Borussia Monchengladbach stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
According to the Bundesliga side’s Spanish defender Alvaro Dominguez, the 21-year-old has been taking Spanish lessons.
"Ter Stegen has been learning Spanish for months," Dominguez revealed when asked by Radio Barcelona about a potential move to the Camp Nou. "He would suit Barca’s style. He has personality, quality, is good with both feet and starts plays from the back.”
On the subject of Valdes, it is now believed that the Spain international is interesting Monaco. And the club, recently promoted back to Ligue 1, are also pursuing defender Daniel Alves, according to El Munod Deportivo. Monaco are owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who is looking to make a splash with the club’s return to the top flight and has also been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao.