Reports suggested Neymar's father had been in regular contact with Barcelona over a return, but Ernesto Valverde says he has heard nothing.

Valverde distances himself from Neymar phone call reports


Ernesto Valverde insisted he had not received a phone call urging him to re-sign Neymar following reports the club had been contacted by the player's father.

El Mundo claimed this week that Neymar Sr had made repeated pleas to the Barca board to bring his son - who joined Paris Saint-Germain for €222million in 2017 - back to Camp Nou.

Neymar Sr subsequently denied the reports and Valverde stressed that, if any calls had taken place, he certainly was not party to them.

"People tend to say big things about players at other clubs," he told a news conference. 

"He is a great player, had a great World Cup, but now he's at a different club, so there's nothing more to say about that.

"It's not a question of Neymar phoning... nobody has phoned me.

"News stories always appear in the press. He's a PSG player and we respect PSG."

Valverde did concede that a forward was high on his January shopping list following the departure of Munir El Haddadi to Sevilla and said he would prioritise a player who could adapt swiftly to life at Barca.

"You probably focus more on a player who can adapt quickly to our team," he explained. 

"When a player comes like [Jeison] Murillo, the first thing you want is for them to adapt quickly, someone who can play straight away. That's if a forward comes."

Pressed on whether Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata could be an option, Valverde commented: "For the same reason as Neymar, I can't comment on that.

"Munir leaving has left a gap, also Rafinha being injured because we often used him as a midfielder going forward.

"We'll see if we can sign any other players but we need to look at the finances, of course. So we'll see if we find someone or not.

"If someone comes or doesn't come, we have B team players as well. We'll see."

 



Hughes slams woeful Saints

Hughes slams woeful Southampton after West Ham defeat

Southampton's capitulation at the hands of West Ham on Saturday left Mark Hughes frustrated and hunting for a way to solve their problems.


Klopp: Liverpool are on fire

Liverpool 'are on fire' ahead of City clash, says Klopp

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool had to dig deep to beat Crystal Palace, but it leaves them in a buoyant mood before facing Manchester City.


Pardew questions meek West Brom

Pardew questions West Brom's meek mentality

West Brom's "tentative" start to their Premier League defeat to Burnley left Alan Pardew unimpressed.


Napoli held by struggling Sassuolo

Sassuolo 1 Napoli 1: Sarri's men hand Juventus chance to extend lead

Juventus could go four points clear at the Serie A summit on Saturday after Napoli could only draw 1-1 at relegation battlers Sassuolo.


Birmingham move out of drop zone

Championship Review: Birmingham move out of the drop zone

There were contrasting emotions for rivals Birmingham City and Aston Villa in the Championship on Saturday.