Neymar agrees Saudi move after only one European club showed interest

Neymar wanted to stay in Europe, but his reputation worked against him  (AP)
Neymar wanted to stay in Europe, but his reputation worked against him (AP)

Neymar attempted to get a deal with every major European club, with only Barcelona pursuing a loan, before eventually agreeing to an offer with Al Hilal from the Saudi Pro League.

All of Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City turned down a chance to sign to bring the 31-year-old in, primarily due to a huge transfer and similar salary package.

The only club who were interested were his former side Barcelona, but they only wanted Neymar on loan with an option to buy, and that still required the exit of at least four players to make happen.

It has left the Brazilian almost reluctantly taking an offer from Al Hilal that comes to a €90m fee to Paris Saint-Germain and €200m total salary package.

Officials at the Saudi Pro League had targeted Neymar as a primary target after Leo Messi at the launch of this summer’s window, and have finally succeeded.

The agreement only came so late, however, because - in the words of a few connected sources - “he has tried everything to get a move within Europe”.

Neymar was desperate to stay in the Champions League, especially as he wants to have a huge 2026 World Cup due to an ambition to be a major sporting figure in the United States. Nothing came off.

Neymar’s final years at PSG worked against him, as most clubs saw him as a self-indulgent player who is no longer truly decisive at the top level.