It has been five years since Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee of £ 198million that stands to this day.
But after 144 games and a century of goals for the French giants, reports this week have suggested that they would be willing to let him go for as little as £ 43million – despite his contract having another three years to go.
For all of his brilliance and being one of the best players in the world, it still somehow feels that the PSG boot hasn’t fitted onto him quite like it did at Barcelona.
Neymar’s future at Paris Saint-Germain is in doubt some five years after his departure
It is a big year for Neymar given Brazil are one of the favorites for the World Cup this winter
He says he’s happy to stay in the French capital but it seems like most of his focus is on Brazil and this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The 30-year-old has every right to be excited about the tournament, with many bookmakers having Brazil as the favorites to lift the trophy due to their star-studded squad.
Memories of their home tournament in 2014 still painfully linger on, and he has spoken of how important the World Cup and playing for his international team is.
So in a vital World Cup year, Neymar could have a big decision on his hands over whether to stick with PSG or twist and move elsewhere.
It’s clear that compared to when he first joined the club, he is no longer the poster boy of PSG.
Kylian Mbappe’s eye-watering new contract pretty much makes him the most powerful figure at the French giants, while Lionel Messi, in his position as one of the greatest to ever play the game, holds a strong position at PSG too – even despite a disappointing first season.
Neymar has been offered to Barcelona who he has been open on rejoining in the past
Neymar is no longer a necessity at PSG, and given the amount they’re paying for Mbappe, it’s no surprise to see them looking to offload a big star.
Reports suggested that the Brazilian star was offered to former club Barcelona, and in many ways that move would make the most sense out of any potential transfer in world football.
He has repeatedly been linked with a return to the Catalan giants over his five years in Paris with the likes of Messi, before he joined PSG, and a host of former team-mates suggesting Neymar regretted leaving Barcelona.
However, with Barcelona entrenched in financial adversity and holding a long transfer wish list including Robert Lewandowski, Bernardo Silva and Raphinha, a deal for Neymar could be very hard to justify in the short-term.
The Catalan club were granted permission to offset a share of their assets last week, including 49.9 per cent of Barcelona Licensing and Merchandising.
Whilst they would have an option to re-buy their stake at a later date, the total sale would bring in approximately € 200million.
A second motion was also passed to allow the club to sell 25 per cent of their television income across the next 25 years.
Neymar’s hopes of joining Barcelona could depend on if Robert Lewandowski joins them
Despite the big sums this would bring into the club, Lewandowski remains the priority for Barcelona and getting both players would seem highly unlikely for a club who have suffered a financial crisis.
Any club who looks to sign Neymar would have to think about his likely considerable wages, since he earns north of £ 24million per year.
Newcastle United would be able to afford his wages, though the Brazilian would unlikely join as he would like to play Champions League football. This is the same for Manchester United, who have also burnt through their cash in recent seasons.
Manchester City have already made their big deal this summer in the form of Erling Haaland, so the most likely team in the Premier League who could go for him are Chelsea.
The Blues are a club who could afford his transfer fee and his wages and have huge ambitions under new owner Todd Boehly.
They are also on the lookout for a new striker after Romelu Lukaku’s failed signing has led to him returning to Inter Milan on loan.
New PSG sporting director Luis Campos would be willing to let Neymar leave the club
Real Madrid meanwhile could also look to Neymar, after they failed in their pursuit of Mbappe after a dramatic late u-Turn from the Frenchman.
Los Blancos would be keen to sign a superstar playing after also missing out on Erling Haaland, and Neymar could fill that slot until the next young big superstar is available.
Incoming director Luis Campos’ team are convinced that the 30-year-old could pose an issue, and that a solution is best found as soon as possible – this could involve leaving the door open to a departure.
However, Neymar has no intention of leaving. The Brazilian is not bothered about Mbappé’s increasing status within the team. He loves Paris, lives a 90-minute plane ride from Barcelona and is the second-highest earner in the squad.
The Brazilian will be keen to arrive into the tournament in good form, after stagnating slightly last season.
Neymar had his worst year in front of goal since he arrived in Europe, scoring 13 goals in 28 appearances.
The club’s failure to win the Champions League has often been thrown at his shoulders due to his transfer fee and he hasn’t looked the happiest over the last season.
Kylian Mbappe is now the poster boy at PSG following the signing of his new contract
Neymar will be hoping to guide Brazil to their first World Cup triumph since 2002
So a move elsewhere might just rejuvenate his career when he needs it the most ahead of what could be his last World Cup.
He said last year: ‘Man, I think it will be my last World Cup. I am facing it like the last World Cup because I do not know whether I will be able to, mentally, to endure more soccer.
‘I will do all I can to win it with my country and realize my dream, the biggest since my boyhood. I hope I can achieve it. ‘
If he could lift the World Cup he would have won every trophy in the game and lived up to the hope that the country had behind him as he emerged as a superstar in his younger days.
A move could be tough to get however, and like Messi last year, players can struggle when they move to a different club.
If he stays at PSG, he would certainly be a starter, so there is a big argument for him to stick it out at at least one more year with the Ligue 1 champions.