“Nobody forced him to sign here. Nobody pushed him to. He came with a full understanding of the cause and to sign up to a project.”

The words of PSG president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, in the wake of recent rumours that Neymar is preparing to depart the French capital after two underwhelming seasons.

Looking back, the move has caused the Brazilian nothing but pain and aggravation.

He’s been beset by injuries and dogged by a constant line of questioning about his behaviour and professionalism. Punching a supporter after a cup final loss probably tipped PSG, finally, over the edge.


It was said that he left Barcelona to emerge from Lionel Messi’s shadow, becoming the ‘main man’ elsewhere, and with a view to winning the Ballon d’Or.

Suffice to say that things have gone so badly in the French capital that he’s now further away than ever from winning the individual prize, and with no hope of a Champions League triumph thanks to having a team of serial losers – where Europe is concerned – alongside him.

Some would say that he’s brought all of this on himself, and it serves him right. He was, after all, a perfect fit in the MSN front three and would arguably have gone onto greater individual and club successes had he stayed in situ rather than chased the euros on offer.

Money can’t buy you happiness and all that.

Now Neymar finds himself in the awkward situation of not really having anywhere to go to, and a very real possibility of still pulling on the PSG jersey in 2019/2020. Why?

There are only a handful of clubs that would be willing to buy him and indeed, could afford both his transfer fee and personal demands.

Al-Khelaifi hasn’t explicitly said Neymar is for sale in any event, but he’s believed to be willing to part with him for at least the €222m that PSG paid Barcelona to acquire him in the first place.

Manchester United have neither the money or the cachet at this point to take him to Manchester, but rivals City could certainly afford to take him. It’s believed, however, that Pep Guardiola isn’t a fan and the Brazilian certainly wouldn’t fit into the team ethic that the Catalan has worked so hard to build.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the French Cup final football match between Rennes (SRFC) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), on April 27, 2019 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Juventus have Cristiano Ronaldo leading their line, and whilst they too could potentially get the deal done, Maurizio Sarri showed at Chelsea just what little authority he wields in the dressing room. Neymar needs reining in and Sarri isn’t the man to do it.

Bayern Munich simply wouldn’t do business at that price, and Real Madrid have just purchased Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, with Rodrygo Goes on the way this summer to complement a front line full of promise.

There was a time last summer when Neymar could’ve ended up at the Santiago Bernabeu, but not now. Their fans were even chanting for Kylian Mbappe at Hazard’s press conference, so the appetite for the Brazilian to come just isn’t there anymore.

Which is why the player and his father have been leading a charm offensive for the last few months to try and get him back to Barcelona.

A Barcelona who had their fingers badly burned when Neymar decided to leave in the first place. A Barcelona who acceded to his every whim, and it still wasn’t enough. A Barcelona that are, supposedly, committed to buying Antoine Griezmann as soon as the window officially opens.

A Barcelona that could offer players plus cash if they really wanted to, but nothing president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said or done has indicated that will be happening.

Unless something drastic happens, Neymar is destined to see out his time in a footballing no man’s land.


Listen to the latest episode of the Eye On LaLiga podcast with Oliver Wilson, Jason Pettigrove and guest Tom Allnutt from AFP: Summer Speculation and Stadiums

Odds are correct at the time of posting

Join the discussion