Paris St Germain sporting director Leonardo says Neymar is free to leave the French champions but there have been no offers for him and only “superficial” talks with his former club Barcelona. The Brazilian forward joined PSG from Barcelona on a five-year deal for a world record transfer fee of 222mn euros ($249mn) in 2017.
“Neymar can leave PSG if there is an offer that suits everyone. But to date, we do not know if anyone wants to buy him or at what price. All this is not done in a day, that’s for sure,” Leonardo told Le Parisien newspaper.
“It’s clear to everyone (that he wants to leave), but in football, you say one thing today and tomorrow another... It’s amazing but it’s like that. We talked with his entourage too. Everyone knows everything. The position is clear for all participants. But one thing is concrete today: he still has three years of contract with us and since we have not received an offer, we cannot discuss anything.”
Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu said last week that Neymar wanted to return to Spain but that PSG were reluctant to sell him. “We have not received any offers,” Leonardo added.
“But we have had, it’s true, very superficial contacts (with Barcelona). They said they wanted to buy but we were not sellers. He’s (Bartomeu) the one saying it... But we did not see that Barcelona was really in a buyer position.”
Paris St Germain said on Monday they would take action against the Brazilian forward after he failed to report for training. Neymar had watched his country win the Copa America in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday night. But when PSG players including France World Cup-winning striker Kylian Mbappe reported back for training and pre-season medical checks in the French capital on Monday, Neymar was nowhere to be seen.
PSG said in a statement: “On Monday 8 July Neymar da Silva Santos Junior was due to return to pre-season activities with the Paris Saint-Germain senior squad. Paris Saint-Germain notes that Neymar Jr was not in attendance at the agreed time and place. This was without the club’s prior authorisation. The club regrets this situation and will therefore take appropriate action.”
Brazilian media quoted Neymar’s father as saying that PSG “were aware” the striker would be unable to return to the club for another week. “The reason was known and planned for a year as part of his activities for the Neymar Institute (charity foundation),” said Neymar Senior.
He added: “We couldn’t postpone them and he will return (to PSG) on July 15. “It’s as simple as that, no drama. PSG are aware and take part in the Institute’s activities.” Neymar, 27, is undergoing treatment on the torn ankle ligaments that ruled him out of the Copa America.
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