There is no more transfer market without Neymar Jr. Since the Brazilian moved to Paris, in a record €222 million transfer, the winger’s name has come up season after season. Starting from the saga of the desire to return to FC Barcelona, which was gaining strength after the first season in the French capital, until the renewal of the contract with Paris Saint-Germain in 2021, when the soap opera about the future of the winger / striker seemed to have healed, we have reached another summer in which 10 da Canarinha is placed with one foot outside France.
The information is provided by radio RMC Sport and is based on statements by Nasser al-Khelaïfi, president of the French champion club, which did not resonate well with Neymar.
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca, the manager, when asked about the Brazilian’s continuation in the team for the next season, evaded the answer: “We cannot talk about these issues in the press. Some will come, others will, but these are private negotiations.”
Nasser, who in recent years has always fought for the player’s continuation at the club, took for the first time a reticent position regarding the future of the signing that changed the paradigm of PSG in European football, an affirmation that the club could hire the best and that the best wanted to come to the French capital. Something essential for the greatest ambition of Parisians: winning the Champions League.
But Neymar was never in France what he was in Spain. The player’s injuries and life context, seen in the series released this year on Netflix, Neymar: The Perfect Chaos, never allowed the best Brazilian football; and the one who was the logical successor of the Cristiano Ronaldo era – Messi was left behind, far from the Ballon d’Or.
The numbers have decreased and in the last three seasons the Brazilian has been getting further and further away from the mark of twenty goals per season, adding 19 goals in 2019/20, 17 in 2020/21 and 13 in 2021/22. Not even the fact that Lionel Messi, friend and partner of ‘La MSN’ in FC Barcelona, one of the most iconic attacking trios in modern football history, which also included the Uruguayan Luis Suárez, helped Neymar reach the level that was expected.
Now, one more market, one more story. Nasser al-Khelaïfi wants a team that does “much more than last season”, a group to “work every day at 200%” and offers no guarantees that the Brazilian fits these premises after five years below expectations and after having secured Kylian Mbappé’s millionaire renewal, preventing the young Frenchman from escaping to Madrid.
With a star, Mbappé, and one of the biggest names in football history, Lionel Messi, Neymar has gone from being a recurring and exhausting nightmare in every transfer market to Nasser. This PSG is another and urgently needs the coveted Champions League to justify the last years of investment that include, in addition to the 222 million from the Brazilian, 180 million euros for Mbappé, 66.5 million euros for Hakimi, 64.5 million by Edison Cavani or 63 million by Angel Dí Maria.
The five names mentioned above are the five most expensive reinforcements in the club’s history, not counting the values in terms of Mbappé’s renewal, which in total is around 600 million euros, or the salaries and clauses of Messi’s zero-cost signing, amount to 596 million euros.
To change this, the future of the French is in the hands of a new sports director, the Portuguese Luís Campos, who is preparing a great revolution impervious to names.
Who wants Neymar?
The news about the Brazilian’s eventual departure has been widely reported this Sunday and would have as much value as any other rumor in the transfer market, were it not for the aforementioned context. With that in mind, the story has been taken seriously and there are already several clubs paying attention to the striker’s situation.
A strong candidate for a possible signing of Neymar is Chelsea, a club recently acquired by a group led by American businessman Todd Boehly. In London, the Brazilian could meet again with Thomas Tuchel, the German who guided the Parisians to the Champions League final in 2020 and with whom the player has had some of the best recent performances.
The Blues are tinkering with offensive options. Romelu Lukaku is expected to be loaned out to Inter Milan, with the international press giving the deal as practically concluded, and the club has been looking to players like Sterling and Raphinha to strengthen itself. A name like Neymar could fit the bill.
Another club that will be keeping an eye on the Brazilian’s situation is Manchester United. Should Cristiano Ronaldo leave this summer, something the club and new manager Erik ten Hag want to avoid at all costs, Neymar could be a viable option to fill the void left by the Portuguese international.
Also Newcastle, which in 2021 was acquired by a consortium formed by PCP Capital Partners, RB Sports & Media, and led by the Public Investment Fund, a state fund managed by the government of Saudi Arabia, will be attentive to the situation, with the PSG player to be the flagship of the project.
According to the Brazilian press, Juventus also welcome an investment in Neymar, after having seen the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Pablo Dybala leave in recent years.
The player’s salary could be an issue, as Neymar is one of the highest paid players in the world, earning more than four million euros gross per month. It has also been reported that PSG’s asking price could be too high for what the winger has shown in recent years and for his 30s.
However, other names and associations will emerge in the coming days, as is the hallmark of a good transfer market like this one promises to be. And then it will remain to answer perhaps the most difficult of questions: what does Neymar want?
The captain of the Brazilian team has his eyes set on this World Cup, a competition he wants to win, in a kind of redemption from all sins. But until Qatar, Neymar has to get back to his best, wherever he is.