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REAL MADRID

Neymar: PSG want Real Madrid deal amid poor Barça relations

While Paris Saint-Germain's rapport with Real Madrid is very good, the same cannot be said of their relationship with Barcelona...

Neymar: PSG want Real Madrid deal amid poor Barça relations
FRANCK FIFE AFP

Paris Saint-Germain are no longer making any attempt to conceal their eagerness to offload Neymar, who they signed only two years ago in a world-record, 222m-euro deal from Barcelona. On Saturday, PSG's sporting director, Leonardo, spoke openly about the club's efforts to sell the forward, telling reporters that talks over his departure "are more advanced than before".

It's not the first time Leonardo has publicly discussed selling Neymar, who is also keen for a summer transfer after two seasons in Paris that may have yielded plenty of domestic silverware, but have also brought Champions League failure and two major injuries. Early in July, he opened the exit door to his compatriot when he told Le Parisien: "He can leave PSG if there is an offer that suits everyone."

Leonardo's remarks then and now reflect a deterioration in relations between club and player that has persuaded both that it is time for a parting of ways.

Neymar continues to train alongside his PSG team-mates as he waits for his future to be sorted out, although this won't be a straightforward process. With the Premier League transfer window now closed, only two clubs are both open to signing him and in a position to do so: Real Madrid and Barça. On Saturday, Leonardo avoided saying which of the two is better placed to secure the 27-year-old's services.

PSG ready to let Real Madrid do initial loan deal

How Neymar would fit into the forward line at Real Madrid appears less of a conundrum than at Barça, whose attacking options already include the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho. However, while the Brazilian certainly isn't against a move to the Bernabéu, his first choice would be a return to the Camp Nou.

On the other hand, PSG's poor relationship with Barça means they'd rather do business with Madrid. Indeed, they are willing to show Los Blancos a far greater degree of flexibility by, for instance, negotiating an initial loan move with an option or obligation to buy next summer. Echoing AS' report earlier in the day, the well-connected Le Parisien also noted the possibility of such a deal on Saturday evening.

Neymar left out of PSG's Ligue 1 opener on Sunday

Having missed the French Super Cup win over Rennes through suspension, PSG's Ligue 1 opener on Sunday might have been an opportunity for Neymar to make his first appearance of the season. However, first Leonardo, then head coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed he would not be involved against Nimes.

Although Tuchel used fitness as an excuse, claiming Neymar "isn't ready", Leonardo's earlier admission that his omission was a "decision made by the club" made it clear that this is an absence that ensures an untimely injury doesn't scupper both parties attempts' to bring the player's time in France to an end.