After months of talk, bluster, posturing, claim and counter-claim we have – for the time being – reached the end of the road. Neymar will be staying at Paris St-Germain.
As the dust settles it is worth noting that the person least surprised by this is the PSG forward himself who, despite pushing for a move for months, feared from day one this summer that this was a deal always destined to fail.
The minimum requirement for the successful outcome of any sales transaction – be it for a yard of elastic or a billionaire footballer with talent to burn – is either a willing buyer or an enthusiastic seller, or preferably both.
On this occasion, however, Barcelona felt the French champions never wanted to sell and PSG always thought the Spanish giants never wanted to buy.
This was the mutual mistrust that underscored the negotiations from the start. Even by the convoluted, conspiratorial and brain-achingly complex minefield that is football transfer negotiations, this was always going to be a uniquely unwieldy deal to bring to a conclusion.
Negotiations were always going to be complicated by there being no buyout clauses in France. Interestingly, though, next year Neymar will have been at PSG for three seasons and, according to Fifa regulations, can buy himself out of his contract after a fee is decided by a tribunal.
If things don’t go well for Neymar that could well be the next step.