Prising Neymar from Barcelona’s iron grip is a job that Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has found to be an impossible feat.
The Brazilian forward – along with Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale – has been Woodward’s dream signing ever since he took office at the Old Trafford club three years ago.
Indeed, the player’s father recently claimed that Man United made a world-record bid of £140million last summer in order to land him.
However, it seemed that Neymar would rather stay at Barcelona and win Champions Leagues alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez than have to carry Memphis Depay and Wayne Rooney.
Moreover, Woodward’s dreams could be crushed completely if a report in L’Équipe this morning is to be believed.
The French publication are alleging that newly-crowned Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are to bid for the forward this summer.
— Jérôme Cazadieu (@Cazadieu) April 3, 2016
With Zlatan Ibrahimović set to depart this summer (though the offer of an extension is on the table) and Edinson Cavani looking likely to follow him out the door, the French side will be on the hunt for new options up front for next season as they look to grow in stature.
Intriguingly, L’Équipe believe that PSG are to bypass Barcelona completely by activating Neymar’s €193m release clause – meaning the offer has to be accepted and gives them permission to discuss personal terms with the player.
PSG had been heavily linked with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in recent months but, as per the report, see Neymar as the better long term option given the seven year age gap between the two.
The report has quoted the player’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, as saying:
“He feels good in Barcelona but living in Paris & playing for a club like PSG is also a dream for all players.
“We’ll see in 2018 when his contract expires. Until then, buyout fee is €193M, I think PSG can afford that.
“Lucas [Moura] is pressuring him to join. He’s telling him the whole time: ‘Come to Paris, we’ll be the bomb!'”
Although this could (and probably is) simply be a ploy to get Neymar a better deal on his next Barcelona contract, the story may not be as outlandish as it would first seem.
PSG will definitely be going all out this year, and there is no question that they could afford the €193m release clause should it come to that. The Brazilian contingent of Lucas, David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos already at the club would make it easy for the 2015 Ballon d’Or nominee to settle in the French capital.
One would imagine that the reported €20m per year salary would also help somewhat.
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