Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane (L) looks at Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale (R) during the Spanish League football match between Real Madrid and Real Valladolid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on August 24, 2019. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

MADRID, – Zinedine Zidane has said he will breathe a sigh of relief when the transfer window closes but Barcelona might need every minute until midnight on Monday to get a deal for Neymar finally done.

“I can’t wait for September 2 so I don’t have to answer these questions anymore,” said Zidane last week.

“There’s still no agreement (with Paris Saint-Germain),” Barcelona director Jordi Bordas said on Tuesday. “We are negotiating and we are closer, but I can’t say more than that.”

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At the start of the summer, it was Real Madrid rubbing their hands at the prospect of wholesale changes while Barca could justifiably believe the majority of their business was complete.

Frenkie de Jong arrived after his 75-million euro switch from Ajax was announced in January while Antoine Griezmann soon followed, with Atletico Madrid claiming that transfer had been agreed in March.

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All that seemingly remained for Ernesto Valverde was some tinkering around the edges.

Madrid, though, were just getting started as 300 million euros spent appeared to pave the way for the sales of those Zidane wanted gone and perhaps more additions too.

Yet as the market enters its final straight, Madrid are the ones winding down while Barca turn their early jog into a sprint.

“Every time there is a transfer window, there is a lot of expectation and certain players like Neymar raise expectations too,” said Valverde last week.

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Neither club appears to have benefitted from a haphazard couple of months, given both have dropped points in their opening two matches in La Liga.

Madrid started brightly against Celta Vigo before familiar scoring problems resurfaced at home to Real Valladolid.

“Zidane loses his immunity,” read the headline in Marca on Monday. (AFP)




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