BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Friday he has grown tired of the ongoing negotiations between his club and Paris St Germain over Neymar, saying he will be glad when the transfer window shuts on Sept. 2.
Barca’s pursuit to bring Neymar back to Barcelona two years after he joined PSG for a record 222 million euros ($247.40 million) has dominated the sports headlines in Spain for months, but the clubs have less than three days to strike a deal.
Club director Javier Bordas declared earlier this week that Barca were “getting closer” to sealing the transfer, although Spanish media reports said on Friday that PSG were unwilling to accept the La Liga champions’ current offer for the Brazilian.
“I am really looking forward to that day — September 2 — so that we can all get some rest at last and know what we have for the season as it has gone on too long,” Valverde told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s La Liga game away to Osasuna.
“Neymar is a PSG player and as always we respect all our rivals, but I reiterate that I’m looking forward to this ending once and for all.”
Valverde was then asked to rate out of 10 how bored he was of the transfer speculation surrounding Neymar and responded: “Around nine and a half.”
Barca are still missing captain Lionel Messi due to a calf injury and Valverde said he hoped his side’s all-time top scorer would be back in time for their game against Valencia on Sept. 14.
Fellow forwards Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele are also unavailable with muscle problems, while new signing Junior Firpo has been ruled out with a knee injury.
Barca earned a confidence-boosting 5-2 win at home to Real Betis last week after falling to a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao in their opening game of the season and they face another testing trip to the north of Spain this weekend.
Osasuna, who are back in La Liga after a two-year absence, have not lost a league game at their small yet intimidating El Sadar stadium since April 2018 and are known for their physical, combative style of play.
“Even discounting their incredible home form in the last few months, they have always been a formidable team to play away against,” Valverde said.
“They push you all over the field and you cannot afford to switch off for a moment. They have just got back to La Liga and there will be a great atmosphere there, but the three points are very important to us too.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)