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.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Andy Webster of Glasgow Rangers in action during training at Murray Park prior to tomorrow night's UEFA Champions League Group C football match between Glasgow Rangers and Manchester United at Ibrox Stadium on November 23, 2010 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 11: (FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE) In this handout image provided by UEFA, Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates victory after the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund at Parc des Princes on March 11, 2020 in Paris, France. The match is played behind closed doors as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

(Photo by UEFA – Handout/UEFA via Getty Images)

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.

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