Barcelona: Five replacements if Neymar leaves Camp Nou

With the Brazilian linked with a world record move to PSG, RealSport pick out some replacements.

News broke over the night that French club Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly ready to break the transfer world record and activate Neymar’s 222 million release clause to bring him to the Parc des Princes.

As close to an heir to Lionel Messi Barcelona will ever get, losing a player of Neymar’s elite quality will be extraordinarily tough to replace. In preparation for that unlikely possibility, RealSport have picked out five possible replacements the Blaugrana can sign to fill the void the Brazilian would leave on the left flank.

1 Ousmane Dembele


Club: Borussia Dortmund

Fee: £80 million

The French winger has been a revelation since his move to Germany last summer. He is ambidextrous, so good with both feet in fact that Dembele himself doesn’t know which is his strongest!

The 20-year-old also has extraordinary dribbling skills, able to twist and turn his way past any opponent, whilst his end product is improving at a rapid rate, recording six goals and 12 assists in the Bundesliga, 18 assists in all competitions.

Dembele is a potential Ballon d’Or winner and has already been linked with a big money move to Barcelona. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi would be delighted with the chances the Frenchman puts on a plate for them.

The issue, though, is that Dembele is predominantly a right winger and seen as the long-term replacement for Messi himself once the Argentine begins his to move more centrally. Using him as a Neymar replacement, therefore, will still leave Barcelona in need of another winger.

2 Riyad Mahrez

Club: Leicester City

Fee: £40 million

Perhaps not quite as big a name as some of the other members on this list, but there is no doubt that Riyad Mahrez has wonderful ability. He was the PFA Player of the Year in Leicester’s extraordinary 2015/16 Premier League winning campaign, scoring 17 goals and 11 assists.

With teammates like Messi and Andres Iniesta, that number would only increase.

However, with Neymar predominantly featuring on the left and cutting in from that side, he contrasts Mahrez in the sense that the Algerian operates best cutting in from the right, so perhaps wouldn’t be considered as a like for like replacement for Barcelona and may force the Catalan club to have a change in tactics.

3. Eden Hazard

Club: Chelsea

Fee: £85 million

The Belgian has been linked with a move to fierce rivals Real Madrid for a while now, but Eden Hazard would certainly soften the blow of losing Neymar and the two have often drawn comparisons.

His mastery on the ball is as mesmeric as Neymar’s and is more than capable of hitting 30 goals in a team filled with world stars like Messi, Iniesta, Suarez and more. Hazard is arguably the best player in the Premier League and one of few players in world football who is good enough to play for Barcelona.

4 Kylian Mbappe

Club: Monaco

Fee: £130 million

The most sought-after teenager in world football, Kylian Mbappe has gone from relative unknown to global superstar who would no doubt command a world record transfer fee in the space of just a season.

His style is akin to Thierry Henry and is lethal when he cuts in from the left, similar to Neymar. He can also operate centrally and on the right and has displayed incredible maturity and composure in his short career so far, taking everything in his stride.

Mbappe has frightening speed and dribbling ability a la Neymar and is also a ruthless finisher. Mbappe certainly has the potential to become one of the best forwards to have ever graced the planet and at just 18-years-old, will be able to fill Neymar’s boots for years to come.

5 Paulo Dybala

Club: Juventus

Fee: £100 million

The Argentine is more akin to Lionel Messi than Neymar in terms of style, but that isn’t exactly a bad thing.

Dybala would fit right in with Barcelona’s front line. He is an extremely intelligent footballer with wonderful technique and dribbling ability. Watching Dybala link and dovetail with those Barcelona superstars would be a joy to behold.

As Messi is likely to drop deeper as he gets older, Barcelona will need a new man in that front line, especially if Neymar were to leave. Dybala would be a great place to start and Ernesto Valverde should do everything he can to get the forward to the club.

Any more for any more?

Some other possible Neymar replacements include Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, almost like-for-like in the way they can beat opponents on the ball, assist and score goals or Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. He’s not a household name just yet, but offers a great balance of skill, poise and speed, plus an instinct to cut inside and attack despite being left-footed.