Barcelona head coach Quique Setien has all-but ruled a move for Neymar this summer as he reckons the Brazilian would be too expensive given the current financial predicament caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Barcelona have agreed with the players and staff to take a pay cut to help ease the financial stress.
That means the La Liga giants will not be able to spend extortionate amounts on signings this summer.
Neymar attempted to force through a return to the Nou Camp last year, two years after his world record £198million move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Barcelona were expected to reignite their interest at the end of the season but Setien has ruled out spending big.
“€222 million for him? No. I don’t think there is anyone who can spend that much,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“And small clubs have water in their throats. Many of them lived to the limit and at the first serious jolt they went into crisis. Football lived at an uncontrolled pace.”
Barcelona have also been linked with a move for Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez.
“We talk about transfers, but this pandemic is going to condition many things. The situation of the clubs will be economically complicated,” Setien told Onda Cero.
“I am not pessimistic or optimistic with Lautaro. I like how I like great footballers, but I have no illusions with any.”
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The Barcelona boss thinks that playing alongside Lionel Messi could tempt Martinez to leave the San Siro.
“Lautaro Martinez is a great footballer,” Setien added.
“Messi likes him? We will have to ask him. All good players can attract Barcelona’s interest.
“As well as the fact that for many the fact of being able to play with Leo represents a huge incentive. Who wouldn’t want to play with Messi?
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La Liga is still hopeful of being completed this summer but Neymar has had his season ended prematurely.
PSG were crowned Ligue 1 champions as France put an end to domestic football until August.
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