Neymar’s admission that Manchester City are interested in him could be an attempt to try and earn himself a better contract with Barcelona, with talks already underway over a new deal to extend his stay at the Nou Camp.
The Brazil international returned to Barcelona at the weekend after enjoying a short break following their successful Club World Cup campaign earlier this month, where he confirmed to reports that he was aware of interest in him coming from Premier League title contenders City.
Neymar also refused to rule out a move away from the Nou Camp, admitting: “I don't know, life is long.”
However, the Independent understands that City will not make any move for Neymar in the summer, and given that the player is already on contract extension talks with the European champions, the admission of interest elsewhere could well be an attempt to try and trigger a response from Barcelona in the form of an improved contract.
Players using interest from other clubs is not uncommon, with a prime example being Manchester United’s summer pursuit of Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos. The Spain international expressed a desire to leave the Santiago Bernabeu with United leading the race for his signature, although the club were clear in their desire to avoid being used in Ramos’s attempts to secure a new contract with the club.
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As it turned out, United pressed on with their interest in Ramos, only for the centre-back to sign a long-term contract extension to end any chance of moving to Old Trafford.
Previous reports surrounding Neymar have claimed that he could consider a move away from Barcelona should he become caught up in a similar row as Lionel Messi has done regarding the tax he has paid over his contract with the club. Both Messi and his father were accused of tax fraud by Spanish authorities, and Neymar’s father has spoken publicly to express his concern with Neymar being exposed to something similar in an early warning to the club ahead of their contract negotiations.
The case against Messi and the Lionel Messi Foundation was dropped earlier this month after an investigation into six matches played over 13-months between June 2012 and July 2013 concluded that neither the player nor foundation were involved in trying to defraud Spain’s tax office.
Messi remains under investigation in a separate tax fraud case spanning dates between 2007 and 2009.