Neymar presented – the beginning of Barça’s decline?

neymar camp nou presentation 2013Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior completed his signing for Barça today and was then presented before a record-breaking 56,500 fans at Camp Nou. The Brazilian star has signed for five years and he will have a release clause in his contract set at €190 million. Barça have confirmed that the transfer fee was a whopping €57 million, making Neymar our second most expensive transfer after Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

While I have no doubt that Neymar is a talented, even a special player, there are plenty of things about this transfer which worry me. Last summer I accepted that the club didn’t have the money to spend €40 million on the likes of Thiago Silva or Javi Martinez. Jordi Alba was bought as a left back and I think it’s fair to say we got a good deal for €14 million though by playing two attacking full backs we have definitely suffered defensively. Then we bought Alex Song for €16 million as a back up to Sergio Busquets and as a replacement centre back. Here we only seem to have got half the deal as Song’s positional awareness was exposed when played at the back.

This summer the need for a strong central defender is even more obvious. Rosell let it be known that we have a budget of €50 million to spend plus whatever can be made from selling players. We have now spent that budget on Neymar leaving us with a diffult job to raise money from sales. As things stand we may get €10-12 million from the sale of David Villa but besides that, if we are going to sell Valdés or Thiago for example – and there is nothing very clear about the club’s plans here – we are going to have to find replacements.

There seems to be a lack of direction in the planning of the squad and it was worrying to hear Tito Vilanova say this week that ‘they give me a squad and I train it’. Who is making the decisions now? Unfortunately, it seems in this case it is the board and not Vilanova and Zubizarreta. If Barça are to return to the heights of recent seasons then we need to stick to the basics of a fast possession game combined with high-energy pressing. The signing of Neymar does not seem to fit into any overall plan, unless we are talking about a marketing plan to make money from image rights.

Neymar has been compared to Barça’s Brazilians of the last 20 years, Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho but he will have a hard time following these exceptional players. They had all cut their teeth with European teams before moving to Camp Nou and there seems to be a legitimate doubt about how Neymar will adapt to playing in Europe where he will find less time and space to show off his skills.

neymar 1The other big doubt is related to Neymar’s position. Ideally he seems suited to a false nine role where he can drop deep and begin attacks. However, considering we already have the best player in history for this position, unless we see a whole new formation to replace the 4-3-3, Neymar will almost certainly be asked to play on one of the wings. This will leave Pedro, Alexis and Tello to fight for one spot with little chance for Gerard Deulofeu to make the leap to the first team.

All in all it seems a very bad move to be taking and one that the success of Rosell’s presidence will be judged on. I hope Neymar proves me totally wrong but I can’t help feeling that this could mark the beginning of a decline in our great club’s fortunes.

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11 Responses to Neymar presented – the beginning of Barça’s decline?

  1. lockie17 says:

    Wow Nic some very strong words there, I can’t help but disagree with a majority if the points you have made. The club and Tito have both stated that a CB will be signed and IMO if we can get David Luiz then we will have a very solid squad. Think the plan with Neymar is to start him on the left with the freedom to roam and get involved as much as possible, can only be a goo thing for the team and Messi with teams having to worry about more than Messi.

    • FC Barcelona Rocks! says:


      • lockie17 says:

        Firstly DUDE, I watch Luiz a lot as the EPL is on Sky every week. Secondly he has only played a handful of games as a DM and I personally rate him as a CB. Would it be unconsievable to play 3 CB Piqué, Luiz and Busi with Alba and Albes as Wing backs, Cesc, Xavi Iniesta the Messi and neymar up top? Just an idea and to stop the play and setup being less predictable, also easily changeable to 4-3-3 if going wrong.

  2. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    I heard something abt the deal been paid somewhere around 14M per year. I don’t have a proper source to verify though. 10 M already paid. 40 more to go / 3 years. Neymar will rack in alot of marketing cash that’s ofcourse if we market him well. This deal could still be a superb one if all goes well. Now, supposedly we should still have our 50 M to spend on a defender and a keeper.

    I really am quite worried of the notion that Tito does not have full control over the club. I’m also worried about the current rumor mill abt the likelihood of us purchasing Reina, Stegen, and the Chelsea duo of Ivanovic and David Luiz.

    Firstly, i must mention that I am not at all a fan of David Luiz’s attitude. I feel that he has a screw loose. Apart frm that, he also does not have enough defensive discipline to stabilize our problematic defense. 2ndly Ivanovic is decent, but not at all so great. Stegen has been a clown on International duty of late and seems a little too raw to get regular football for our starting 11. Reina has past his best. Period.

    All our transfer biz news seems FAR FROM ENCOURAGING. As i often stated earlier, regardless of Neymar has the potential to be the next Messi. Question is do we really need another dribbler ahead of a proven goalscorer such as FALCAO(who left for 50M, a fee equivalent to Neymar’s) or Lewandowski(who Dortmund has yet to receive any form of official bid just yet) Is Neymar REALLY THE REAL DEAL?? If anything the English friendly has got to say abt Neymar,,,in both occassion vs England, Neymar looked a good player at best. I felt that Hulk and Oscar was more of a threat as compared to Neymar. I didn’t see any real magic from the guy against a top defence. Will Neymar really offer alot more than Tello could down that left?? I feel not. Tello has shined against lesser defenses as well. Why not train him and give him more exposure FOR FREE????

    Our decision making when it comes to transfers really bemuse me. I feel perhaps I am the dumb one aye???

  3. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    I WOULD HAVE PAID 40- 50 MILLION FOR HUMMELS, CHIELLINI, Andrea Ranocchia or Dante. Now that is a solve to our defensive problems. But WHAT DO I KNOW???

  4. Caleb says:

    I agree with the concerns about the fee of 57m. Pretty surprising. Neymar definitely has the potential to be one of the top 5 players in the word, but the difference between potentiality and actuality is significant. He’s not proven by any means.

    Now I just find myself hoping the Rosell is lying about the 50m for the summer. I have to say that if we can get 1 really solid center back and then have some better luck with injuries (I’m of the opinion that Bartra really is a decent option at central back and will only get better if he’s given opportunities) we’ll be a very good team.

    I’m also not as concerned about Neymar’s positioning. He has a tendency to drift out to either the left or the right wing. Playing him on either side is much less role change than asking someone like David Villa to do so.

    But yeah. Hopefully Rosell is lying or means that we have 50m besides what we spend on Neymar. And, if I’m hoping that I’m being lied to by Rosell I guess this isn’t the greatest situation the club has ever found itself in.

  5. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    Gerard Deulofeu and Tello has a fantastic future ahead of them. We just had to make that future a little less possible for them on our team shirt with this signing.

    Now, for the love of God, i really hope David Villa, Alexis Sanchez, Dani Alves, Mascherano and Valdes are all sold to balance the books.

    I hope we sign a fantastic defender(A proven one) and a proven goalkeeper. I heard somewhere that Stekelenberg is going to Fulham. WTH?? Why aren’t we going in for him? He is really pretty good. No?? Anybody disagree??

  6. TomViejo says:

    I have been pessimistic of Neymar’s signing.57 million we could have solved the goalkeeping and centre back problems with cash to spare .the idea that Tito has no imput in the purchase of players is scary ,was his appointment to do with Rosell finding someone he could manipulate or the best coach.Rosell was having run ins with Pep over purchases and promotions.I think we have two good defenders in Bartra and Montoya.I suppose wee’l sell them for 10 and buy them back for thirty million laterWe are losing Valdes through incompetence,not quite so worried about Thiago,keeping Tello could be hard and what’s happening to Coenca
    I am not a big fan of the president and the more I see of his decisions the more nervous I get.Like other contributors I hope I am wrong but between November an February when tiredness creeps in and we are playing on three fronts I can see problems in defence look at teams like Spurs they have four decent centre backs and at times during the season they can have problems,if the wind is in the right direction and we have no sickness or long term injuries we have a chance if not?

  7. barcacentralomer says:

    While running the risk of sounding like someone who”s “replay” button is stuck, I’ve been a strong critic of Barca’s transfer market dealings over the past few years. Pep’s incredible success IMO tended to obscure the transfer market bunglings. Whether It was the greatest transfer flop of all time of Ibra, the inxplicable signings of Hleb and K9, the one season blunder called Chygrynskiy, the 40 million on a 29 year old Villa or the 60 million we forked out on Cesc and Alexis – we seemed to have a knack of either buying the wrong type of player or paying far too much money for players who couldn’t justify the hefty transfer fees with their performances on the pitch. It is a trend which unfortunately continued last summer when we bought Song for 19 million in the hope we’d be getting two players for the price of one – we ultimately got a benchwarmer to a large extent, when with additional funds we could have gotten a world class CB which was what Barca desperately needed but the Board and perhaps the mgt. didn’t think so. I’m surprised behind the 2 in 1 player combo thought process because Song was rarely employed as a CB by Arsenal. Moreover the Gunners in recent past haven’t really been reneowned for their defending anyway.


  8. barcacentralomer says:

    @Nic: If Tito is trying to get the message across that he has little or no say in the transfers, then isn’t Tito also jeopardising his own managerial career by staying on in a job where he has little authority and all the responsibility? If Barca flops next season, Tito and not Rosell or Zubi will be the one who will be asked to leave.

    I hope I’m wrong but IMO Neymar could turn out to be big flop on the football pitch. I think his ‘superstar’ attitude when he hasn’t really shone for Brazil or at a top European club (as yet) coupled with the expectations from him and the fact that he will probably be playing out of position in a Messi-centric formation raises a lot of doubts and concern about the massive transfer fees paid for him.

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