Neymar has asked to leave PSG before the summer transfer window closes and a lucrative switch to Saudi Arabia has been mooted
Paris Saint-Germain have announced the signing of Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos – hours after it emerged that Neymar had dropped a bombshell and informed club chiefs that he wanted to leave.
Ramos, 22, has joined PSG in an €80million (£69m) transfer deal following interest from Manchester United. But the Portuguese hotshot’s move has been somewhat overshadowed by revelations surrounding Neymar’s future.
The Brazilian superstar is understood to have told PSG chiefs of his desire to leave before the summer transfer window closes and has set his heart on an unlikely return to former club Barcelona. As a result, PSG are willing to sell Neymar, who has a contract until 2025, for between £60 and £70m.
Given the French giants’ asking price and Neymar’s increasingly concerning injury record at the age of 31, leading European teams aren’t expected to launch a pursuit. However, the flamboyant forward could be saved by a team from Saudi Arabia, with the nation flooding money into their league this summer to bring in big-name players like Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez.
PSG are owned by Qatar Sports Investments which until recently could’ve proven to be a major sticking point in negotiations with a club from the Saudi Pro League. The Qatar blockade ensured diplomatic relations between the gulf state and Saudi Arabia in recent years have been somewhat tense – the beoutQ saga that infringed on the Premier League’s lawn just one small part of that – but those frosty relations have thawed somewhat in recent times.
It certainly didn’t go unnoticed across the globe during the World Cup in Qatar last year that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sat alongside the Qatari Emir at the opening ceremony. Now, as PSG’s Qatari owners look for an exit route for Neymar, that new-found friendship and Saudi’s big-spending on its league may well offer the Ligue 1 champions the get-out which they need when it comes to the world’s most expensive player.
PSG bought the Brazil international from Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record €222m (£190m). A combination of messy club politics, scattergun recruitment strategies, frequent changes in the dugout and injuries means that Neymar’s six-year stint in Paris is largely viewed as a disappointment.