Barcelona failed to land Neymar as Paris Saint-Germain stood firm on their transfer demands.
The Blaugrana were desperate to take the Brazilian superstar back to Camp Nou, two years after his £200million switch to the Parc des Princes.
And Neymar himself was determined to link up once more with Lionel Messi, having left to get out of the Argentine’s shadow in his quest to win the Ballon d’Or.
That plan failed and Neymar, having decided this summer that he had had enough of life in Ligue 1, pushed to return.
However, after face-to-face transfer negotiations spread across four days in Paris last week, the two sides couldn’t fix the move to take him back.
With Barcelona stretched financially, they agreed to a deal which would see Jean-Clair Todibo and Ivan Rakitic join PSG – giving them some breathing room with regards wages – as well as around £154million in terms of a transfer fee, although a plan of how that would be paid was never secured.
The biggest obstacle, however, was Ousmane Dembele.
He was also part of the offer made by the Spanish champions, only the World Cup winner didn’t ever intend on moving back to his homeland.
The Ex-Borussia Dortmund winger made clear from the outset that he wished to stay with Barca this term; his agent also went public to make clear that he had no intention of going to PSG, declaring “Ousmane stays 100 per cent – there is no chance he will leave” at almost the exact moment Barcelona executive director Javier Bordas told to press a move was “closer”.
Dembele couldn’t be persuaded to move and set when his camp was contacted by PSG, they outlined huge financial demands – which they knew the French side would never agree to.
Throughout the entire saga, there was a feeling mooted in some quarters that PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaiifi – who rebuked Neymar at the start of summer and let fly with an “I do not want star behaviour anymore” – was using the entire situation as something of a PR exercise and showing who was boss.
That is a claim pushed further by Mundo Deportivo, with the Catalan daily stating that Neymar offered to pay €20million of his own money – whether as part of the transfer fee or towards Dembele’s demands.