Neymar’s future has been a topic of heavy conversation this winter, with reports through the holiday season that Barcelona will once again court their old superstar come summer.
However, it’s now entirely possible that Paris Saint-Germain looks to ward off interest in the Brazilian by presenting him with a new contract, hoping to lock him down for the foreseeable future. While that won’t happen imminently, ESPN’s Julien Laurens reports that the two parties are optimistic about locking things down once talks begin.
Laurens reports that, while there is interest on both sides – notable given Neymar’s reported attempts to push his way out of Paris last summer – talks will not begin until April or May, after the club’s Champions League fate is clearer.
PSG has long coveted a spot among the Champions League elite, and it’s no secret that Neymar’s PSG tenure will be considered a success or failure largely by their progress in European’s top competition. Should they once again be eliminated early in the knockout rounds, it’s possible that one or both parties change their stance on a long-term commitment.
With his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2022, Laurens reports that “informal talks” have been held between PSG sporting director Leonardo and Neymar’s father, who serves as part of the Brazilian’s representation. While those discussions are a necessary first step, there is still a very long way to go before anything becomes more concrete. Laurens also mentions that agent Pini Zahavi, who was instrumental in Neymar’s initial move to PSG, remains close with Leonardo and will no doubt be a key figure in any potential new deal.
Neymar struggled earlier this season with hamstring problems, but he has always been deadly when on the field for PSG. He has 11 Ligue 1 goals in 12 appearances, including at least one goal in each of the team’s last six league games, plus five assists in that span as well. He was also excellent in the 5-0 Champions League win over Galatasaray to finish out group stage play, and scored a goal in the 6-1 drubbing of St. Etienne in the Coupe de la Ligue.
Laurens also reports in the article that Kylian Mbappe is facing a similar situation, with his deal also expiring in the summer of 2022 and waiting to see how the team fares in Champions League play before making a decision. However, Mbappe reportedly already has a concrete offer on the table and is simply waiting to make a decision.
PSG drew Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Round of 16, with the first leg of that matchup set to take place on February 18. PSG has never progressed past the quarterfinal of the competition, and has been knocked out in the Round of 16 in each of the last three seasons.