KEY POINTS

  • Barca chief reveals they won't be re-signing Neymar this summer
  • He also said talks with Inter Milan have stopped over Martinez's transfer
  • The two forwards are Barca's top targets this summer

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed re-signing Neymar this summer is "unfeasible," while talks with Inter Milan over Lautaro Martinez’s transfer have stopped amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Neymar and Martinez have been Barcelona’s top targets this summer as captain Lionel Messi believes their arrival will help them strengthen the squad that recently failed to defend its La Liga title, which they won the last two seasons. Messi, who has not hesitated to show his distress with the way the club is being run in recent times, has also claimed that they cannot win the Champions League, a trophy they won last in 2015, with the current squad.

However, due to the ongoing financial crisis at Barcelona, the club has decided not to make any expensive signings at the summer transfer market.

In an interview with Spanish media outlet SPORT, Bartomeu has revealed that Barcelona have earned $235 million less than what was expected between March and June this year when soccer was halted due to the deadly virus.

Neymar, who moved from Santos to Barcelona in 2013, played with the Nou Camp side for four seasons, where he struck a great partnership with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as the club’s front line as the South American trio was considered to be one of the most dangerous front-three across the European clubs. In the middle of 2017’s pre-season, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) announced they had signed Neymar for a world-record fee of $261 million.

Antoine Griezmann celebrates with Lionel Messi after scoring a sensational chip against Villarreal on Sunday. Antoine Griezmann celebrates with Lionel Messi after scoring a sensational chip against Villarreal on Sunday. Photo: AFP / JOSE JORDAN

While Neymar was an instant hit in the French league, he has never been as happy as he was at Barcelona. Even after winning three Ligue 1 titles in as many seasons, Neymar has expressed desire to return to the Nou Camp side.

It is believed that Barcelona came close to re-signing Neymar last summer but were forced to withdraw due to PSG’s higher asking price. Neymar’s return to Spain once again looks impossible in the ongoing summer window.

"All the big European clubs are affected. This isn't going to last a year, but three or four," Bartomeu told SPORT.

Further discussing Neymar and Martinez’s transfers this summer, Bartomeu added in the same interview, "Neymar? In this situation, it's unfeasible. Nor does PSG want to sell him. Barca have spoken with Inter about Lautaro, but the talks have stopped. The situation doesn't invite large investments."

In the interview with SPORT, Bartomeu also explained about Barcelona’s losses between March and June earlier this year.

"In the 2020-21 season we expected to post 1.1 bn euros [USD 1.3 billion], but we'll have 30% of that. If the situation of the pandemic doesn't improve, there will be no spectators, no museum, no stores open, and money will continue to be lost. It forces us to be very rigorous in management: we must review which investments are essential and which can wait, " the Barca chief added.