Former Rangers defender Andy Webster is set to play a vital role in the spat between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain over Brazilian superstar Neymar, with Webster’s controversial Hearts exit providing a loophole to get Neymar out of his PSG contract.
Webster invoked FIFA’s Article 17 of the Regulations on status and transfer of players, becoming known as the ‘Webster rule’ as he terminated his Tynecastle contract a year early.
The rule allows players three years into a four-year deal to be considered ‘unprotected’ and allowed Webster to make a brief move to Wigan before signing for Rangers.
After just a few months in Lancashire, Webster returned to Scotland to sign for Rangers – sparking a complaint to FIFA from Hearts – although the defender was injured in his first training session.
Ultimately, Wigan had to pay £150,000 to Hearts although it was a fraction of the figure the Jambos were looking for.
Neymar now finds himself in a similar situation, three years after PSG smashed the world transfer record to lure him from the Nou Camp.
Rumours have circulated almost constantly that he was being lined up to return to Catalonia and it looks as though it could finally happen this summer.
After spending in excess of €200million to bring the Brazilian to the City of Lights, they may well be left counting the cost should Neymar invoked the ‘Webster rule’ and rip up his PSG contract.