Neymar to stay at Barcelona ‘for life,’ says technical director
Brazilian forward Neymar will remain at Barcelona "for life," according to the club’s technical director Roberto Fernandez.
The 23-year-old underlined his status as one of the best players in his team last season when he scored 43 goals in all competitions as Barcelona won a Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble.
Neymar is tied to the European champions until June 2018 and Barca recently expressed their intention to reward the Brazil international with a new and improved deal that would reportedly make the player the second highest paid at the club after Lionel Messi.
"We are currently working on Neymar’s contract extension and I don’t think there will be any type of problem," Fernandez said, as reported in Marca.
"I have no doubt in my mind that Neymar will spend the rest of his life at Barcelona."
Neymar was linked with Manchester United this summer, with reports in England claiming the Red Devils were prepared to spend £240 million ($365m) – £130m ($198m) on the player’s buyout clause and the remainder on tying him to a long-term contract at Old Trafford.
The Brazil captain had been a target of United’s city rivals Manchester City and Chelsea two years earlier but the player opted to join Barca instead in the summer of 2013 when he moved from Santos.
Neymar has been even more importance this season with Messi having hit the sidelines for a couple of months because of a knee injury.
Neymar has four goals in six La Liga appearances in the current campaign.
Barcelona know they must be patient and not bring Messi back before he has fully recovered.
"We cannot rush with Messi," Fernandez said. "I’m certain that the predicted eight weeks of recovery will be met.
"I don’t believe one should ever force the recovery of a player."
Barca have been marred by injuries, with Brazilian midfielder Rafinha ruled out for six months with knee ligament damage and captain Andres Iniesta sidelined with a hamstring problem.
"Injuries appear and we need to face them," Fernandez said. "It’s part of the game.
"We could have had a better pre-season and unlike this summer, I don’t think next year we will go on a tour."
To complicate matters for Barca, they cannot field their two summer signings – former Sevilla right back Aleix Vidal and ex-Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan – until January, when a transfer ban imposed on the club by FIFA expires.
The punishment was handed down after the club breached rules regarding the signings of underage players.
Fernandez has not ruled out making further reinforcements in the winter transfer market.
"We have time to think what we want and if we need someone, which his the most important thing," he said. "We are looking because it’s our duty to do so.
"The winter transfer market is never easy."
Spanish forward Nolito is one possibility.
The Celta Vigo forward has been linked to Barcelona since the summer.
He has scored five goals and set up three more in seven league starts for the Galician club.
"Nolito is a good player and he is proving that every Sunday," Fernandez said.