Barcelona chief Jordi Mestre has made it clear that the club has no plans to sell Neymar during the summer transfer window despite the Brazilian's recent dip of form. The club's vice-president of the Sports Area claimed that instead the Catalans would like him to commit his long-term future to the Nou Camp with a new deal.
Mestre has been forced to address the issue after reports in Spain earlier this week in the Catalan publication La Vanguardia revealed that officials at the Catalan club are concerned about the star player's 'Brazilian' style of life outside of the pitch.
Neymar's compatriots, like former players Ronaldinho, Romario or Ronaldo, suffered similar scrutiny during their time in La Liga after garnering a reputation as bon vivants in the Barcelona nightlife, being eventually sold by the the club despite being major stars.
But during an interview with the club official channel, Barca TV, Mestre ruled out the possibility of Neymar following in the footsteps of his compatriots and leaving the club in the summer.
"Of course not," he said. "That is something that keeps coming up, but I have said it many times − we are delighted with Neymar. And Neymar will not be sold. We have not even thought about doing it."
Neymar enjoyed a "spectacular" first part of the campaign and has scored 27 goals in 43 appearances this season. Yet, Mestre believes that the "speculation" about his future only came after the Brazilian had failed to find the net in the last five games, with Barcelona being knocked out from the Champions League and suffering three La Liga defeats in the process.
"When he signed for us, he made a financial effort as other clubs were going to give him more money. He came here to play because he wanted to play good football, alongside [Leo] Messi, to win trophies," Mestre said. "This season he has been spectacular. For sure, that he has not scored recently, or things have not gone as he wanted, has brought out some comments but they are pure speculation."
The truth, nevertheless, is that his future at the Nou Camp was under scrutiny long before amid Barcelona's struggles with renewing his contract. Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain have been thus linked with his services in recent months but Mestre insists that the club remain confident in committing his long-term future to the Nou Camp with a new deal – and a lucrative pay rise.
"If we have to talk, we will talk," the Barcelona chief said. "I see Neymar very happy at Barca, in Barcelona, very integrated into the team and the city. He is committed to the maximum. I don't see why he should leave or why we would not renew his contract. It is about both parties' wishes."