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Barcelona have reportedly drawn up a shortlist of three Premier League players as they look to potentially replace Brazilian forward Neymar ahead of his expected move to Paris Saint-Germain.
The latest from RMC in France suggests that the Brazilian international has accepted the contract offer from the Ligue 1 giants, with only tax implications left to consider as the six-time French champions actively look to formally trigger a €222m release clause and cut Barcelona out of the negotiations.
The deal, more than double the world transfer record set by Manchester United last summer, will leave the La Liga giants with a huge hole in their team, but a large sum of money with which to fill it.
It had been thought that Liverpool maestro Philippe Coutinho, a player that his compatriot actually wanted as a Camp Nou teammate at one stage, was the primary replacement target.
But a report according to Daily Mirror suggest that the Liverpool midfielder is just one of the three player currently plying their trade in England that Barca plan to look at.
It is claimed that they actually view the 25-year-old as a potential long-term successor to club captain and Camp Nou legend Andres Iniesta in a deeper role than Neymar has occupied.
Chelsea star Eden Hazard and Tottenham’s Dele Alli are other names in the limelight. Hazard in particular would be more of a like-for-like replace for the Brazilian, but losing someone so uniquely talented measn a change in their playing style is almost unavoidable.
Both Hazard and Alli have been linked with Real Madrid in the past. Hazard was thought to be Real’s premier target this summer at the Bernabeu until all focus turned to Kylian Mbappe, while Alli has wowed Europe over the last two seasons with 28 Premier League goals to his name.
Any one of the trio would likely cost at least €120m, but with Barça’s new Neymar cashpot, it’s possible they could even afford two of them if they wanted.