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Football | Spain

Barca waiting for Neymar green light



Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu has admitted that the Catalan club will be in the running to sign Brazilian striker Neymar if and when he decides to leave Santos.

The Spanish league leaders have been following the 21-year-old Brazilian international for some time and could make a bid to land him this summer despite the fact that his contract with Santos expires in 2014.

"He is a player that all managers would want," Bartomeu told Barcelona Televisio.

"When he says we want to leave Santos, Barca will be there trying to sign him."

Indeed a €10 million payment in Barca's annual accounts attributed to 'signed commitments' has been rumoured to have been a down payment to Santos.

However, Bartomeu denied that any move for Neymar would inevitably result in David Villa leaving the club.

Villa has struggled to find a regular place in the side since returning from a broken tibia at the start of the season and Spain's all-time leading scorer has been closely linked with a move to Arsenal come the summer.

Bartomeu is hoping that is not the case, although he accepted Villa would not be kept against his will.

"The coaches want him to stay next season and those thereafter, but neither will we keep hold of a player who is uncomfortable."

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