Neymar’s £196million release clause should, in theory, mean he’s completely off limits.
In reality, the Brazilian’s future is now one of the most intriguing subjects of the summer following reports in his homeland, via Esporte Interativo, that Paris Saint-Germain were ready to trigger the clause and force Barcelona into selling.
The Qatar-backed Ligue 1 club are one of the few sides that could find that kind of money in their budget, but signing the Barcelona superstar would be a tall order nonetheless.
There would undoubtedly be something symbolic about a deal that, when wages are taken into account, could set the Parisians back half a billion euros.
The cost would be a huge risk, even if Neymar is one of the biggest talents around and is considerably younger than the two players currently considered the world’s greatest, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In fact, the Daily Mail suggest that the price tag attached to the 25-year-old has already put off Manchester United and Chelsea.
The two Premier League clubs held talks over Neymar’s availability earlier this summer, but that was more in the hope that Barca could be talked into accepting a lower fee.
When it became clear that PSG were happy to pay the release clause, if that is indeed true, the English duo pulled out of the race. Even considering United and Chelsea’s enormous budgets, the Neymar deal is out of the question.