After a summer soap-opera, the forced marriage of Neymar and Paris Saint German looks set to continue…for the time being.
As the European transfer window closed on Monday the Brazilian looked to have given up on all hopes of engineering a move back to Barcelona who sold him for a world record fee in 2017.
A Catalan deputation was in Paris over the weekend trying to broker a deal but negotiations collapsed, despite the French champions’ manager Leonardo saying Neymar could leave if the offer suited everyone.
Although PSG understood they were unlikely to re-coup all their outlay, a deal including cash and players looked likely and Barcelona were firm favourites to sign the Brazilian, bookmakers generally offering 7-2 to 5-1 on a deal.
Juventus and Real Madrid were thought to be alternatives if the Barcelona deal fell through, but with the offer collapsing so close to the window deadline, several sources confirmed Neymar would continue his uncomfortable stay in the French capital.
Barca are thought to have offered £135m in two stages plus Ivan Ratitic. PSG were keen to see Philippe Coutinho included but he has moved to Bayern Munich, whilst their other favoured options were Ousmane Dembele, Nelson Semedo or Jean-Clair Tobido.
As negotiations stalled, Neymar is rumoured to have offered £20m of his own cash to grease the wheels.
Leonardo said towards the end of the saga that no club had enough cash to force the deal over the line.
Neymar is now set to join the Brazil squad for the international break, and then return committed to his contract which runs until 2022.
Given his unpopularity, with the fans having tried to force a move, don’t expect the story to end here.
At the end of next season Neymar will be running down the final year of that contract. If PSG are not to write off their investment, a transfer is likely in next summer’s window.
Bookmakers make Camp Nou the favoured destination over Madrid and Turin. Those odds are unlikely to change, given Neymar’s preference for Barca.