February 26, 2024

Common Wealth Geography

Exploring the World

Potential Replacement for Neymar Jr: Al-Hilal Eyeing Barcelona Star

Al-Hilal are reportedly weighing up a move for Barcelona attacker Raphinha to replace the injured Neymar Junior. SPORT cite reports from Saudi Arabia which claim Raphinha sits atop a shortlist put together by the Saudi Pro League giants as they look to deal with Neymar’s injury. The former Paris Saint-Germain superstar has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to an ACL injury. Al-Hilal tried signing Raphinha, 26, in the summer but he snubbed a move to The Blue Jewel while also turning down a return to the Premier League. But, the former Leeds United winger has struggled to win over Xavi since arriving at Barcelona in July 2022. Raphinha has started five of 11 games across competitions this season, bagging two goals and three assists. He joined Barca from Leeds in a €57 million deal but has failed to live up to expectations. Neymar’s injury has rocked Al-Hilal who have since unregistered him so that they can acquire a new foreign player. The likes of Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen have also been linked. However, Al-Za’eem aren’t the only club interested in the Brazil international. Tottenham Hotspur are also reportedly eyeing a move for the Barca winger and he could return to the Premier League where he was a massive hit. Raphinha is happy at Barcelona and hasn’t pushed to leave despite question marks over Xavi’s faith in him. He has four years left on his contract with the Catalan giants. PSG reportedly detected a serious issue with Neymar’s foot when joining from Barcelona in 2017 Neymar, 31, made an unceremonious departure from Barca to PSG in 2017, joining the Ligue 1 giants in a world-record €222 million deal. He endured injury issues during his spell at the Parc des Princes but did manage 118 goals and 77 assists in 173 games across competitions. According to L’Equipe (via PSGTalk), Brazil’s all-time record goalscorer joined the Parisians with an existing injury. There were existing concerns about his right foot when he signed with the French giants. It’s claimed that doctors identified a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal while conducting a medical examination. PSG were hopeful that the stress fracture wouldn’t worsen over time but it unfortunately did. Neymar’s final season at the Parc des Princes was plagued by a season-ending ankle injury that required surgery. He joined Al-Hilal in a €90 million deal this past summer.