Neymar did not make his Barcelona return much to his and the club’s disappointment and the transfer was cancelled based on two key reasons.
Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele didn’t want to leave the club.
Both players were adamant that they wanted to stay at the Nou Camp hence the end to transfer negotiations since the Catalan side couldn’t generate enough funds to complete the transfer.
Now that the transfer window is over, they both get their wish and now it is time for them to prove their worth.
Rakitic needs no introduction. The Croatia international has been an integral part of the Barcelona team since his arrival in 2015.
He is no doubt a world-class central midfielder whose talents are undoubtedly one of the most sought after in world football today.
So far this season he is yet to play a single game for the club this season. Maybe it was to let him know that he is no longer needed at the club or maybe it was something else. Something that happened in the dressing room or in training. Something they are not telling us about.
Whatever it is, Rakitic has not gotten a look in at all this season.
Despite all of this, he is defiant and refuses to leave the Nou Camp. He was one of the reasons Neymar is not a Barcelona player today and now he has to fight to get back into the team.
The 31-year-old is in the prime of his career as a midfielder and won’t want to spend the end of his prime years sitting on the bench. He probably is the best of all Barcelona’s midfielders and will have to prove once again why that is.
He could though pay the price for not agreeing on a move to the French side with Valverde deciding to keep him on the bench for the rest of the season but that may be unlikely.
Rafinha’s loan move to Celta, even though the Brazillian was playing well, may indicate that the Croatian might be in Valverde’s plans for the season – but only time will tell.
Dembele, on the other hand, has a very complicated issue at Barcelona.
His two seasons, although blighted by injuries, have been deemed as unconvincing by supporters of the club and they may be even angrier with the Frenchman because he did not leave for Paris for Neymar to come over to Barcelona.
He, more so than Rakitic, has a mountain to climb at Barcelona this season. Dembele would have to be much better than his previous season to make up for his actions this summer.
He is injured currently and may return after the international break and will be hoping that will be his only injury this season.
His injury issues are one of the reasons the fans get frustrated with him. His fitness this season will be very key for him.
Barcelona fans could be optimistic with the 21-year-old and admire that he had refused to leave the club. It could mean that he really wants to prove himself to the club and its fans this season despite the situation he finds himself in. That shows good character.
They both didn’t want to leave the club and they both stayed with the team. Now it’s up to them to show that they are better for Barcelona than Neymar is.