Spanish football expert, Graham Hunter, has claimed that Lionel Messi is driving Barcelona’s pursuit of Neymar this summer.
Neymar only left the Camp Nou two years ago for a world-record fee, but he is keen to return.
Paris Saint-Germain are demanding close to the 222million euros they paid for the Brazilian, but Barca are willing to add players to the deal.
Hunter has now told Transfer Talk that Messi might not sign a new contract with the LaLiga champions, if they are not successful in wrapping up a deal for Neymar.
“Messi is a central player in all of this. Messi is not a stroppy player – people have portrayed him as such falsely. But when he sneezes, Barcelona catches a cold.
“[Josep Maria] Bartomeu, the president, has said before he leaves – and he must quit the club in 2021 at the latest – he wants to leave Messi renewed once more.
“Whether Messi is saying ‘get me Neymar’ or whether he’s whispering ‘before we sit down to negotiate, I want the front line reinforced with Neymar’, the fact is: Messi wants Neymar back.
“He, [Luis] Suarez and Neymar – even though they’re different characters – are very friendly. Messi found a partner that understood him technically, who served him and who created masses of space. The last time Barcelona won the treble, they had that ‘MSN’ up front.
“It’s clear Messi believes his route back to the Champions League isn’t just Neymar specifically, but more people supplying goals around him. Messi is saying ‘if you want me to sign a new contract, first renew Neymar’,” Hunter said.