A player of Neymar’s ilk, skill, and notoriety will always draw excessive attention from opponents and transfer rumors from across the globe. Even though Barcelona built a reported £167 million (200 million euros) release clause into the Brazilian talisman’s current contract.
It’s for that reason, and that reason alone, that Catalans president Josep Maria Bartomeu intended to dispel any chance of Neymar leaving Camp Nou this summer or any other time in the next five years with his comments on Thursday.
Promising the highly-regarded and still-budding star forward will sign a new five-year deal in the next “few days,” Bartomeu has likely eased the fears of Barcelona supporters and assured another potential run at a treble.
“Neymar is not leaving Barca. He is not going to leave,” Bartomeu said. "The socios [club members] know this, and that is why—and I don't know whether it will happen tomorrow or the day after—Neymar is going to sign for five seasons."
The top club official didn’t state whether the five years would be tacked on to Neymar’s existing deal, which currently runs through June 2018, or how much it will be worth overall. However, it should well exceed Neymar’s previous contract and put him more in line with fellow Catalan stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
According to Daily Mirror, Neymar’s current incentive laden contract was leaked in April, revealing he was set to earn a grand total of nearly £42 million as long as he met certain playing requirements like matches appeared and bonuses if Barcelona won La Liga and or Champions League.
Technically, the report revealed Neymar was only making £4.2 million per season in salary but could double that amount if the Catalans were successful on the domestic and international fronts. Last season Neymar netted 24 goals and assisted 12 others as Barceona repeated as La Liga and Copa del Rey champs, and the Catalans are once again expected to challenge for a treble next term.
Given his age, and the fact that Neymar hasn’t truly peaked yet, it’s very possible his next deal will exceed that of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo or even former Paris Saint-Germain and new Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Bartomeu also further solidified what many have already believed: Neymar has no plans to leave the Catalans. He referred to the original, complicated transfer that sent Neymar from Brazil’s Santos to Camp Nou in 2013, which left Barcelona on the hook for a hefty tax bill and allegations of impropriety.
"It is normal that other clubs are interested in him, but I am saying this clearly: Neymar has never told us that he wants to leave,” Bartomeu added. "He wants to stay here and we want him to be here, and that is why the club's lawyers and Neymar's lawyers are working to finish this renewal and we hope it will be done over the next few days.
"But we are coming from a tax case with the Spanish revenue service and the prosecutor, and so we must write the contract very carefully. He will continue here for five years."