The PSG Report: Neymar’s troublesome path to a contract extension with PSG

Paris Saint Germain’s Neymar, center, challenges for the ball with Lyon’ players during the French League One soccer match between Lyon and PSG in Decines, near Lyon, central France, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain have had a love/hate relationship since the Qatari owned club brought the Brazilian to the Parc Des Princes for a world record transfer fee of €222 million ($265 million). The drama that ensued from then on would challenge any Shakespearean play —. Neymar quickly regretted hisThe PSG Report: Neymar’s troublesome path to a contract extension with PSGdecision to play in Ligue 1 Multiple reports in late 2017 hinted at the fact that he had not become accustomed to life in France and was open to the possibility of a move a mere four months after he had initially accepted the move  according to Spanish media outlet Marca.  

In fact, Marca reported in November  2018 that Neymar had met with Real Madrid directors during the Ballon d’Or gala held in Paris in December  2017. There, the Brazilian made it clear that he was willing to force an exit in order to join “Los Blancos.” 

Then came Summer 2019, with Neymar still determined to leave PSG. This time with his eyes set on a return to his former club, FC Barcelona. Paris President Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo Araujo looked to convince Neymar to stay, but he would not budge. As a result, they finally granted him his wish.  

The club negotiated with Barcelona’s representatives, but Paris made it clear that they were only willing to accept either a bid in the range of €175 million, or a large haul of players that included winger Ousmane Dembele, midfielder Philippe Coutinho, fullback Nelson Semedo and midfielder Ivan Rakitic, along with a cash sum of €100 million.  

From the offset, it was clear that the Catalans would not be able to meet the extraordinary demands of Khelaifi and Araujo. The club had just recently acquired Anotine Griezmann for €120 million from Atletico Madrid, and they were not in a strong financial position. Barcelona’s economic hardship was further legitimized when it was reported that they had to take out a loan of €35 million to pay the entire fee outright, as their proposal to Atletico to pay the fee in installments was declined. 

Clearly, Barcelona did not have money at its disposal, so the notion that they could meet Paris’ demands was simply absurd. Although Khelaifi and Araujo were willing to entertain the idea of player swaps along with cash, the reality was that accepting such a deal would not be in their best interest, as it was nowhere near Neymar’s actual value, which was much higher. 

Nevertheless, the clubs would meet on July 15, 2019, a meeting which basically served to lay the groundwork for the negotiations that were to come. Araujo told the Barcelona executives that Neymar was available, and the executives were interested in the proposition. The second meeting occurred on Aug. 27, 2019, when an informal proposal was made by Barcelona: €170 million, along with Dembele and Rakitic, according to Julien Laurens of ESPN. 

While Paris did seem interested in this proposal, they were willing to call Barcelona’s bluff. The Catalan club was in financial ruins, and it would not be able to bid that high of an amount of money. Furthermore, Dembele and Rakitic were not willing to leave the Camp Nou. To no one’s surprise, the deal fell through, and this would be the last legitimate negotiation between the two sides. Neymar had no choice but to stay in Paris.  

The Parisian faithful had most definitely turned their backs on the Brazilian; they were irate at his behavior over the Summer, which they had deemed disrespectful to the club. These supporters voiced their opinion on the matter in PSG’s home opener against Nimes Olympique at the Parc Des Princes on Aug. 11. Banners that insulted Neymar in Portuguese were held up high by the supporters, along with chants that referred to him in derogatory terms. Due to the fact this was in the midst of negotiations, most believed that Paris would have to let him go, as it seemed likely the fans would not forgive his actions. 

Paris Saint Germain’s Neymar, center, challenges for the ball with Lyon’ players during the French League One soccer match between Lyon and PSG in Decines, near Lyon, central France, Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

PSG played in two more matches before Neymar was finally integrated into the matchday squad in their fourth match of the season, which came against RC Strasbourg Alsace at the Parc Des Princes on Sept. 14, 2019. Neymar was whistled and insulted throughout the majority of the match by the fans, who still held a grudge against him. The contest was 0-0 in the 90th minute, and it seemed as if Paris would drop points. However, Neymar performed an exceptional overhead kick on a ball put into the box by fullback Amad Diallo. The ball deflected off the left post and into the back of the net to win it for the Parisians at the death. 

This began the road to redemption for Neymar amongst the fans, but it’s not as if they had any choice. Footballing excellence simply cannot be seen in a bad light, as they produce a magic rarely seen by other players. His world-class ability allowed him to win back the fans, something that seemed unlikely and almost impossible a couple of weeks before. 

Since then, Neymar led PSG to their first Champions League final in their history. Although they did lose to Bayern Munich, it demonstrated how crucial Neymar is to any team, as he was the main reason they got the final.  

Now, Neymar is set to sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain that will keep him at the club until 2026, according to Sky Sport Italy correspondent Fabrizio Romano. This deal includes a massive monetary bonus if PSG win the UEFA Champions League in the years to come.  

In the final analysis, one can determine that PSG’s stubbornness in negotiations paid off, as Neymar now looks forward to his future with the club. Moreover,  Khelaifi and Araujo made a massive statement in keeping him:  Paris would not be bullied by other European giants. If they do not receive what they believe a player is worth, then they will not reach a deal.  

The Parisian project looks to be on the right track, and they’ll now look toward a formerly hated player to lead them to Champions League glory. 


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