Mercato / Ligue 1: Is Neymar still part of the PSG project?

Mercato / Ligue 1: Is Neymar still part of the PSG project?

Nasser Al-Khelaïfi had a lot to say on Tuesday in the columns of Le Parisien. The president of PSG did not choose to use the language of wood. With one exception. On the Neymar case, “NAK” more or less kicked in touch. “We will not discuss these issues in the mediahe retorted when deciding on the place of the Brazilian in the new project wanted by the club of the capital. Some will come and some will go but these will be private negotiations” To maintain the vagueness on the future of Neymar, Al-Khelaïfi could hardly find a better speech. And it is not the automatic extension of the Brazilian which turns the situation upside down.

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The words of the Parisian president confirm a trend that has begun in recent months. Neymar is no longer the figurehead of the project he was since joining the club in 2017. Kylian Mbappé took this costume from him. This is not from yesterday. And the contract extension of the star of the Blues despite the advances of Real Madrid has finished making him the undisputed head of the gondola of the Parisian club for years to come. Paris has gone out of its way… and even more than that to keep the former Monegasque. He is, at first sight, much less attached to Neymar.

A question of image, but not only…

Rumors of his departure were already surfacing before Al-Khelaïfi’s chilling speech about the Brazilian. It has been rumored for several months that the Parisian management was ready to study possible offers for the former Barcelonan, recruited for 222 million euros in 2017. And that Luis Campos, the new strong man of the sports sector of PSG, does not would not hold back if an acceptable proposal arrived on his desk. That basically, symbolically, separating from Neymar might be the best way to switch to this new project which should mark the end of the “bling bling” in Paris.

“Galtier is a mini Didier Deschamps”

But it’s not just about image. On the sporting level, Neymar is coming out of his most delicate season at PSG. His inability to make a difference during the first half of the exercise, his words which revealed a certain weariness with football and his lack of unprecedented impact on the Parisian game already left room for doubt as to his future in Paris. They were reinforced by yet another ankle injury, which kept him out of the field for three months between November and February.

Behavior to review imperatively

Neymar, however, had finished the season well. He was already involved in the two goals scored by Kylian Mbappé in the double confrontation against Real Madrid in the knockout stages of the Champions League, despite the Parisian elimination. Above all, he had regained an influence and statistics finally closer to his standards from the spring, with 10 goals and 3 assists in his last 12 outings in Ligue 1. Even if, over this period, the Brazilian had distinguished himself by his indiscipline by collecting 8 yellow cards.

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This is a recurring problem with Neymar. Beyond his multiple injuries which have largely weighed down his five years at PSG, his tendency to “unpin” in the face of provocation is a fault that his opponents never hesitate to exploit. In this, he sometimes threatens the balance of the Parisian collective more by his attitude than he improves it by his talent. It is this type of behavior that the management of the capital club no longer wants to see. “You have to change to avoid injuries, suspensions and game-changing fouls“, insisted Al-Khelaïfi in particular. If he wanted to target Neymar, the president of PSG could not do it better.

Potentially one of PSG’s best assets

Exactly. The lyrics of ‘NAK’ can also sound like a warning for the Brazilian. A way of telling number 10 of PSG that he must change his attitude to be part of the new direction of the Parisian project. A lever on which to press to push Neymar to take responsibility and finally become the one that Paris saw as the ideal player to make his dream come true. The international auriverde is not on another wavelength. “I would give my life for the Champions League trophy to be in Paris“, he declared last February.

The strategy would not be meaningless. Already because Neymar will find it difficult to find a taker given his salary and the duration of his contract until 2025. Also, above all, because he potentially remains one of PSG’s best assets. Few players have his creativity and ability to make differences. The quality of his connections in the game with Leo Messi and Kylian Mbappé is no longer to be proven. The unprecedented detachment of the capital club towards him may also be likely to put him under pressure to finally get the most out of it. It would be time.

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