For now, Neymar’s immediate future seems to be at Paris Saint-Germain, but there is increasing speculation he is on his way out because of sub-par performances that has seen his value plummet, and questionable behavior off the field.
According to the French newspaper L’Équipe, Neymar’s contract with PSG was automatically extended until 2027 due to a clause triggered on July 1.
It is now widely accepted that PSG officials tried to sell the player this summer before the clause came into force. However, the two parties could still part ways.
There have been rumors of interested clubs. Manchester United, Chelsea and even Newcastle appear on the list of potential buyers, although the race to sign Neymar has only just begun. So far there seems little concrete interest.
Neymar no longer enjoys the untouchable status he once had at PSG. With the arrival of Lionel Messi last summer and the renewal of Kylian Mbappe’s contract, the Brazilian star is not the face of the Parisian club which, according to President Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is changing priorities.
Neymar has been in the French capital for five seasons, but with diminishing returns, although very often because of injury problems. Last season, he scored 13 goals and provided eight assists in 28 games played, the lowest record in his entire career.
The changes that PSG intend to make, on and off the pitch, will affect Neymar perhaps more than the other stars in the squad. As his performances have suffered, his image has deteriorated, and Al-Khelaifi will be looking for a clear upturn in fortunes.
If the club can’t sell him, he will have to radically change his attitude to fit in at PSG, and it seems the Brazilian no longer has the unquestioned protection of the club any more. The privileges, the whims and, above all, the patience, are reportedly all gone.
With new coach Christophe Galtier on the bench, and Luis Campos as sporting director in the stands, Neymar will reportedly have to show commitment, humility and a higher level of performance.
It remains to be seen to what extent the club stick to their new hard stance, but the Neymar who conveys an image of ostentation, luxury and parties will seemingly not be tolerated any more.
The image that the club reportedly does not want is a player who warms up in diamond earrings that cost $5,000 euros each, who wears a white gold necklace with 500 diamonds that costs $40,000, who carries a gold iPhone valued at $4,500, and who travels by helicopter and has two private planes and a wide range of luxury cars.
The 30-year-old former Barcelona man has a contract which will reportedly earn him $36 million a year. He is not a profitable asset for the club.
Neymar’s image is poor across France and now he is no longer being propped up by those who pay his wages.
Al-Khelaifi has made pointed remarks, without naming names, with regards to player behavior and performance.
“Players have to have discipline on and off the field. Whoever wants to stay in the comfort zone, who doesn’t want to fight, will stay on the sidelines,” were the blunt words of Al-Khelaifi in Le Parisien, clearly drawing red lines not to be crossed and giving full powers to the new coach.
Neymar’s 28 games with 13 goals and eight assists last season compare unfavorably with the numbers of the team’s new undoubted star.
Mbappe played 46 games, scored 39 goals and provided 25 assists.
The French press has turned on Neymar. They describe him as spoiled, bratty, ridiculous, more an artist than a player, and someone who has failed to reach the levels of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.
Fans are also reportedly fed up with his social life and apparent lack of commitment.
The value of the Brazilian has plummeted in recent seasons and his market price, according to the Transfermarkt portal, is $75 million. This figure is far behind the world’s top talent, such as Mbappe ($160 million), Erling Haaland ($150 million) and Vinicius Jr. ($100 million).
A new Neymar could well emerge in the new season, if he realizes that time is running out and there is dwindling interest in his services.
But will it be enough to save his standing at PSG?
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