Neymar is stuck at PSG as football’s most expensive headache.
The Parisian dream has turned into a nightmare which both Neymar and PSG are trapped in, but the two sides have brought it upon themselves in a saga which should serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of football.
Barcelona gave up their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar but will make a renewed effort to sign the Brazilian superstar next summer, according to Marca.
Sources close to the Ligue 1 champions also confirmed on Saturday that the deal is off and that Neymar will be staying in Paris. Following weeks of negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain, Barca have been unable to strike a deal to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou, as the Frenchmen asked for €300 million.
As the clock ticked down on the end of the summer transfer window in Europe, it became clear that Neymar would not be heading back to Barcelona, despite the forward’s desire to force through the move and the frantic bartering over increasingly complex and outlandish cash-plus-player deals cooked up in recent weeks.
Neymar and his current side are stuck with each other for the time being at least, trapped in a loveless marriage which seems an age away from the deal that brought the Brazilian to the French capital in a world-record €222 million transfer two years ago.
Back in that heady summer, expectations were high on both sides: PSG, with the ready flow of cash from their Qatari owners, were desperate to make the signing that stated their intent as truly belonging among Europe’s footballing superpowers. Neymar. then 2, joined a squad that boasted big-money signings such as Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani, and which had teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe on the way.
The sense is that Neymar quickly came to realize is that PSG – and the French league especially – is not the place to serve his ambitions, while the club could argue the same about him, given the near-constant media speculation over his desire to return to Spain and debacles such as his no-show for the start of pre-season training just a few weeks ago.
As the most costly piece in an incomplete jigsaw, Neymar is both a symptom and a victim of PSG’s failings.
With the closing of the transfer window, the summer soap opera has at least been brought to an end for now as both sides know where they stand for the immediate future. But the cautionary tale for football clubs and certain players should be clear: beware expensive follies that could end up being much harder to get out of than they were to get into.