Reports in France suggest that Neymar is no longer wanted at Paris Saint-Germain and that the French team would welcome offers for the Brazilian.
The 30-year-old striker joined PSG for around £200 million in 2017 from Barcelona and has won several league titles with the team, but has failed to deliver a Champions League trophy, despite the arrival of former Barca team-mate Lionel Messi last summer.
It had been suggested that Messi or Neymar could be sacrificed by the club this summer, and with Messi under contract for just one more year, the younger man seems more likely to leave because he would probably fetch a transfer fee.
There have also been reports in the past that Neymar has been unhappy in the French capital, and his professionalism has been called into question over the years.
Eurosport France’s Vincent Bregevin shed some light on the situation in the capital.
HOW WIDELY REPORTED IS THE POSSIBILITY THAT NEYMAR COULD LEAVE?
“There are quite reliable sources saying PSG would be open to sell Neymar this summer,” Bregevin told us. “[PSG president Nasser] Al-Khelaifi had a quite disturbing word about this yesterday in an interview in Le Parisien when asked if Neymar was still part of the project. He didn’t actually say yes, saying he won’t talk about this in the media.
“This adds fuel to the rumours he could leave. But it could also be a way to put pressure on the player to change his mentality, as they’re trying to have a totally different image.”
HOW LIKELY DO YOU THINK IT IS THAT NEYMAR LEAVES?
“I guess he’s not that likely to leave because he has big wages that not many clubs can afford, and PSG would likely think about selling him only if they have an appropriate offer. I don’t imagine PSG paying part of his contract to leave. That point hasn’t been reached.”
Despite the troubles, Bregevin believes that PSG will likely keep hold of the player. There is no obvious way for him to leave, because there are no “clubs really interested in him”.
In theory, Neymar might tempt Newcastle into action as one of the few clubs who could afford his salary. There are, though, a number of problems with that possibility.
For now, Newcastle does not rival the glamour of the city of Paris, though that could well change over the coming seasons. There is also potential political rivalry between rival Qatari and Saudi backers of the respective clubs.
Additionally, Newcastle have so far been unwilling to pay more than they feel is fair for either Sven Botman or Hugo Ekitike, so offering up a big transfer for a player aged 30 would be more of a gamble than the club currently appear willing to take in the market.
Otherwise, there is no rich club desperate enough to compromise the pursuit of value for money in search of a big name. Manchester United may have been keen under Ed Woodward, but they appear to have reformed their approach and also have Cristiano Ronaldo to accommodate for at least the next season.
Brazilians often return to their home country in the tail-end of their career, as Ronaldinho, Robinho and Dani Alves have done in recent years, but Bregevin is sceptical.
“That does not seem likely,” he stated. “He had a difficult season, but he finished it quite strong and showed he still has the talent to play in a top club and be decisive.
“If he leaves Paris, which seems again unlikely despite all the rumours, I think it would be for a top club in Europe… The problem is that he’s still a risky bet for any top club given his injury track record.”