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Get ready for an interminal summer of Neymar-to-Barcelona talk

May 20, 2013, 6:40 PM EDT

Neymar of Brazil's Santos celebrates after scoring against Bolivia's Bolivar during their Copa Libertadores soccer match in Santos

This Neymar business is going to get old quick, mostly because there seems to be very little chance of him actually moving this summer. Yet as much as I want to say undoubtedly and uncategorically that the 21-year-old Santos star won’t leave before his contract runs out in 2014, I’ve been around long enough to know: Young star moves to Europe wouldn’t be the most dramatic turnaround in world transfer history. Come next fall we could see him at Barcelona.

That it’s Barcelona – not Real Madrid, Chelsea, or the myriad other clubs Neymar’s been linked to since coming to prominence four years ago – we can be fairly certain. By all indications (this being one), the star has made it clear he only wants to Cataluyna. His father has gone so far as to confirm contact with both Spanish giants, yet he’s been seen meeting with Barcelona, with his national team coach also confirming contact with the Catalans.

That meeting has re-ignited speculation Neymar could move sooner rather than later, but there are still a number of reasons for him to stay in Brazil. His contract, which runs through next summer, is the most obvious reason, but there are also the constant public proclamations he (and his father) has made over the last two years. And because he is so well compensated in a country whose economy (soccer or otherwise) continues to surge, there’s less financial incentive for Neymar to jump the pond.

Santos, on the other hand, may not mind seeing Neymar go. Thanks to national team duty (specifically, the Confederations Cup, among other commitments), their star player is set to miss a huge chunk of time this summer, as the Brazilian league does not stop for international match days. If Neymar decided to leave, Santos could take some of their Barcelona money, invest it in some of the Brazilians returning from Europe, and potentially be better off for it.

All of which sets up a summer that will be either anticlimactic or nauseating, as far as Neymar is concerned. If he stays, it’s nothing but what we should have expected all along. If he goes, the splendor’s already been ruined by four years of trampling the story into the ground. Aside from Neymar changing his mind about Barcelona, there’s nothing new that can happen with this story.

Such is the excruciating world of soccer transfer rumors, particularly when you’re talking about a player like Neymar. By the time we get the reveal, the trick’s already been ruined. All you can think of how much time you wasted watching the show.

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