PARIS Saint-Germain is ready to renew its efforts to sign Barcelona star Neymar, and is planning a bumper package worth up to 200 million euros in order to land its man, sources tell Goal France.
After a long, fruitless quest to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to Paris, leaders of the French club turned their eyes to Neymar last summer. Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Olivier Letang rolled out the red carpet to try to sign the Brazilian this season, offering an astronomical salary (matching Messi’s Barcelona deal) as well as several hefty financial clauses to entice the striker.
PSG plans to spare no expense in trying to bring Neymar to the French capital, and the Parisian sporting director keeps in regular contact with the Brazilian’s inner circle.
The operation was close to being completed this summer, according to sources close to the player, as he was tempted to join up with friends Marquinhos, Lucas Moura and Thiago Silva in Ligue 1. The attacker eventually declined to continue talks in favor of signing a new deal with Barcelona at the beginning of July, for a salary estimated at 25 million euros per year until 2021.
Barcelona, meanwhile, remains firm on the subject. “The deal was agreed in January, only administrative snags stopped us from signing before,” a source in the Spanish city explains. Agent Wagner Ribeiro and Neymar Sr. without a doubt used PSG’s interest to push up Barca’s offer, but ultimately the player turned down a massive contract offer – worth €40 million – to stay at Camp Nou. His salary, however, remains some way behind the €42 million that Messi receives annually, even with the revisions made in the face of the French club’s advances.
That failed attempt, however, was just the start for PSG. Now its attention has switched to a new raid for the coming season. Former coach Laurent Blanc revealed in April that the club would veer away from signing big names in favour of bolstering the team as a unit; but that assertion seems to run contrary to the management’s plans, with the objective a megastar who can fill the void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
While Neymar’s refusal may have increased PSG’s transfer activity in the last window, its frugal spending demonstrates the club’s decision to keep enough money in the bank to meet the Brazilian’s €222 million release clause next season. That figure will increase to €250 million in 2018, while his wages will similarly skyrocket. The coming year, then, is a crucial one for the French directors as they seek their marquee signing.
In Barcelona, meanwhile, there is little concern about the matter. Club officials are convinced that Neymar is content at the club and is not considering a move away, at least for the immediate future.
The big project on the cards for Barcelona concerns the Camp Nou, and a €600 million overhaul to modernize the famous old ground. Works are scheduled, permits pending, to begin next summer, and sources tell Goal Spain that gaining permission to break ground is by no means certain. The renovation, however, may have an impact on the playing budget, mirroring the events of 60 years ago when the promising Luis Suarez was sold to Italy to offset the construction costs of Camp Nou and club idol Laszlo Kubala.
In 2017, history might just be repeated with Neymar and Lionel Messi, and if it does PSG will be at the front of the line for the talented Brazilian. – Goal.com