Neymar linked with return to Barcelona after PSG president says he 'no longer wants superstar behaviour' at club

Jason Burt
The Telegraph
Paris St-Germain would expect a world-record fee for the Brazilian forward Neymar - REUTERS
Paris St-Germain would expect a world-record fee for the Brazilian forward Neymar - REUTERS

Paris St-Germain may be prepared to sell Neymar if he wants to leave this summer but only for what would be a world-record fee.

At the same time PSG will not pursue Paul Pogba despite the French international declaring that he wants to leave Manchester United during this transfer window as it is “a good time to have a new challenge”.

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PSG do, however, remain interested in United goalkeeper David de Gea, who only has one year left on his contract, but do not expect a deal to be done.

PSG have had no direct indication from Neymar that he is keen to go this summer but are aware of the unrest around him.

There are three years left on the Brazilian’s contract at PSG and it would take a figure in excess of the €222 million (£199m) to persuade them to sell.

Barcelona are understood to be prepared to offer players – such as Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembélé – in part-exchange but PSG insist it will still take a lot of money for them to even consider selling the 27-year-old forward who they want to stay with them.

Real Madrid are also strongly interested and also have to offload players. Any negotiations would be handled by PSG’s new sporting director Leonardo who has returned to the club to succeed Antero Henrique after he was sacked.

<span>Along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, Neymar was prolific as part of a deadly trident at Barcelona</span> <span>Credit: REUTERS </span>
Along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, Neymar was prolific as part of a deadly trident at Barcelona Credit: REUTERS

Neymar signed for PSG in August 2017 after his release clause at Barcelona was triggered. He remains the most expensive signing in world football but is probably less important to PSG’s future than Kylian Mbappé who arrived in the same summer.

PSG are in talks to extend Mbappé’s contract and improve his salary after the 20-year-old made it clear he wanted “more responsibility” at the club or “elsewhere with a new project”. However there is no chance that he will leave this summer and it is understood that he is happy to stay.

Neymar has not publicly let it be known that he wants to leave but it is understood that his preference would be to return to Barcelona where he remains good friends with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. The trio formed the devastating ‘MSN’ attacking force.

There is great store being put on an interview given by PSG’s president Nasser Al Khelaifi that he “no longer wants to have superstar behaviour”. It is understood to be a decisive move by him to change the culture at PSG and an insistence that there will be no more “star attitudes”.

<span>Neymar injured himself during a recent international friendly</span> <span>Credit: GETTY IMAGES </span>
Neymar injured himself during a recent international friendly Credit: GETTY IMAGES

In an interview with France Football Al Khelaifi said: “I want players that are ready to give everything to defend the honour of our shirt and who sign up to the club’s project. Those who do not want to, or do not understand it, we meet and we speak. There are of course contracts to respect, but the priority now is complete commitment to our project.”

Asked directly about Neymar’s commitment he added: “Him, like the others. No-one forced him to sign here. Nobody pushed him to. He came with a full understanding of the cause to sign up to a project.”

Speaking of the PSG squad in general Al Khelaifi added” “The squad need to rediscover rigour. If a player makes a mistake, Leonardo will not play nice and he will make him understand that the club is majorly more important than him… The players are going to have to assume their responsibilities more than ever before… I want players that are proud to wear our shirt, not players who do the job only when it suits them. They are not here to have fun. And if they do not agree with that, the doors are open. Ciao! I no long want superstar behaviour.”

Neymar is currently out injured after suffering an ankle injury during a recent Brazil friendly which has ruled him out of the Copa America.

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