Paris Saint-Germain are preparing to hold talks over a world-record €222m (£196m) deal to buy Neymar from Barcelona. Although Barça are insisting the forward will stay, PSG are getting more optimistic they may be able to sign him.
PSG are not getting carried away, having thought they had secured a deal for Neymar last summer only for the Brazil striker to sign an improved contract to remain at the Camp Nou.
However, they intend to hold discussions with Neymar’s father and believe an agreement may be possible. They can easily meet the €222m release clause and the huge salary Neymar would demand.
Nasser al-Khelaifi, the PSG chairman, has reopened the door to the transfer and Antero Henrique, the sporting director, is in line to talk with Neymar’s father, who has stayed in touch with the club despite last summer’s events. PSG felt used then and vowed not to be duped again. There had also been flirtations the previous summer.
Neymar represents everything PSG need: a top signing who would propel them into a new dimension on and off the pitch. His marketing value combined with his talent would catapult them on to the global stage and take them closer to their aim of winning the Champions League.
The 25-year-old knows he can expect to continue playing second fiddle to Lionel Messi for several years at Barcelona as the Argentinian recently renewed his contract to 2021. A club statement described Messi as “the best player in history”.
PSG feel they are given hope by Neymar’s desire to be the main attraction and his knowledge that he will struggle to win personal accolades in the same team as Messi.
The Barcelona vice-president, Jordi Mestre, has said he is “200%” certain Neymar will stay.