Christophe Ena/Associated Press
New shock rumours involving the future of Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and persistent links to Real Madrid have emerged in the British press, with the latest reports saying Les Parisiens are the favourites to sign Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez as his replacement.
While Neymar has been linked with Real Madrid for some time now, the Daily Mirror‘s Steve Stammers took it one step further, writing the Brazilian “seems certain to leave France and return to Spain next season” and join Los Blancos.
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Stammers also wrote that Neymar has refused to “quash the speculation,” although the former Barcelona man did exactly that in a press conference earlier in November, per ESPN FC’s Jonathan Johnson.
PSG manager Unai Emery has also denied reports Neymar could leave the club, per the Press Association (h/t Sky Sports).
The British and Spanish press have largely ignored those rebuttals, however, and continue to churn out reports of Neymar’s dissatisfaction with the club. The persistent reports have led to plenty of strong reactions from the 25-year-old, who simply left the neutral zone after yet more of the same questions, per Goal UK:
Goal UK @GoalUK
It seems Neymar doesn’t appreciate questions on links to Real Madrid! https://t.co/o4gcxBVPbm
He also had to fight back tears at one point, while Brazil manager Tite stood up for him:
Seleção Brasileira @BrazilStat
#Neymar tears as #Tite defends him from all the criticism that he has been receiving from the press. https://t.co/n1h6QB0ldk
Neymar has been a smash hit on the pitch since his move to France, scoring early and often. PSG have cruised to the top of the Ligue 1 standings thanks to his strong form and the play of Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.
It’s hasn’t been all smooth sailing, however. He and Cavani had a public spat on the pitch during a match against Lyon, and according to L’Equipe (h/t AS), it even led to the Brazilian apologising to the entire team.
A 2018 departure seems highly unlikely at this point. PSG invested well over €200 million in Neymar, making him by far the most expensive player in history, and they won’t give up on their investment that easily.
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images
Even if they did, few clubs would be able―or willing―to spend that much money on a single player. Real might have the budget but no massive need at the wing position, and in a dressing room filled with superstars, adding a player for such a huge amount of money could seriously disrupt the squad.
Should Neymar leave the French capital, Sanchez would be a great replacement. He could sign with the Ligue 1 side for free in January and join in the summer, slotting in on the wing or as a striker.
Per the report, he’ll likely demand wages of roughly £350,000 per week amid interest of Manchester City and Bayern Munich.