Which team should Neymar choose if he left Barça?

Which team should Neymar choose if he left Barça?
Which team should Neymar choose if he left Barça?
Neymar has been outstanding this season. Having contributed a fantastic 69 goalscoring chances in the 19 La Liga matches he has taken part in, his growth in...

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Neymar has been outstanding this season. Having contributed a fantastic 69 goalscoring chances in the 19 La Liga matches he has taken part in, his growth in terms of confidence and influence in Barca's attack is unquestionable. With 16 goals and nine assists already to his name, it is unsurprising that major teams have their eyes on luring the Brazilian star away from the Camp Nou.

Although Cules may feel uneasy at the thought of losing their most talented youngster, there is an uncomfortable question at the back of everyone's minds: If the No.11 was to accept a transfer, where might he end up?

Manchester United are unlikely to be the only club to show an interest in a player that was crowned third best player in the world at last month's Ballon d'Or ceremony. Their bitter rivals across town, Manchester City, have the ambition and financial muscle to battle the Old Trafford side for his signature. While United undoubtedly need to add some sparkle to a side that has been painfully dull to watch this season, incoming City boss Pep Guardiola will be looking to bring in world-class talent when he takes over at the Etihad this summer. 

Beyond the North-West of England, other clubs who are likely to chase Neymar's signature are London giants Chelsea. Owner Roman Abramovich is not quite as free spending as he was in his early days at Stamford Bridge but has always had a penchant for a big name signing and, admittedly, they don’t come much bigger than Neymar. With Eden Hazard losing his way this season, Neymar would bring the thrilling football Abramovich has long hankered for.

Paris St Germain are clearly a rising European force in terms of financial power but is Ligue 1 really where Neymar wants to be spending the peak years of his career? New Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti may be looking to add a new striker if Robert Lewandowski desires a move away from the Bavarian giants but Bayern do not really have a history of paying such outrageous transfer fees on superstar signings.

That realistically just leaves a potential move that all Barca fans would dread and also never forgive the Brazilian over if he ever did consider moving to another Spanish club. That is, of course, Real Madrid. 

There has been loose speculation that Barca's arch-rivals have shown an interest in the forward. This one is extremely unlikely given the two club’s fierce rivalry, however. If this remotest of possibilities did somehow come to fruition Neymar would instantly lose all respect and admiration among Cules in the same way Luis Figo did when he made the controversial move all those years ago. 

All these potential suitors have a certain appeal of course but none of them quite have everything in place for success as Barcelona do. Neymar is currently in the form of his life playing alongside the greatest player in the world in Messi and arguably the most in-form striker in the world in Suarez and is on the verge of another trophy-laden season. From the outside, at least, it would appear madness for the Brazilian to want a move away from the Camp Nou.

Neymar's exit would be terrible news for Barcelona as, given his current form, he is pretty much irreplaceable. There are great strikers around the world; Sergio Aguero, Robert Lewandowski and Gonzalo Higuain to name a few. All great goalscorers, yes, but none can offer the same kind of combination of scintillating wing play and prolific finishing in the manner of Neymar. 

Yes, Barca would still have Messi and Suarez to terrorise opposition defences but with Neymar alongside them the club have a rare attacking juggernaut in their ranks. The trio’s unique individual talents compliment each other perfectly and if one of The Three Amigos were to depart, would Barca’s attack be quite so devastating?

Transfer rumours are of course an everyday part of the soap opera that is the world of football, and there will always be times when a player of Neymar's qualities will be linked with big money moves regardless of how much truth there is in any of them. What will worry Barca fans though will be how long this particular piece of transfer talk stretches back to. When there is constant speculation spread over several months there is usually, at least, something to the story.

If the superstar forward was to move, it would only weaken Barcelona and at the same time enhance a rival club. The ex-Santos man is well on his way to the summit of world football and should be the future of Barcelona's attack for years to come. The club should reject any incoming offers and agree a new contract with the Brazilian as soon as possible as, otherwise, his absence would leave a virtually impossible gap to fill.

By Aaron Attwood, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter @ajattwood