Neymar to Newcastle United: ‘Most likely’ destination named, ‘reduced deal’ touted, ‘scared to death’ claim
and live on Freeview channel 276
There is a certain mythical quality to Neymar. The Brazilian is often spoken about, if not in the same breath, then at least in the breath after, the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and to many, he is soundly deserving of his place in the pantheon of the greatest footballers of his generation.
But whereas Messi and Ronaldo are almost like the Thor and Balder of the modern game, Neymar is very much the Loki. There is a mischievous, petulent streak to the forward, from his shapeshifting brand of nimble trickery to the way that he conducts himself off the pitch. The two in combination have given rise to a certain notoriety that few of his peers eclipse.
Understandably, then, the prospect of Neymar moving clubs this summer is garnering a fair amount of attention. There are widespread suggestions that the South American will end his six-year association with Paris Saint-Germain in the coming months, and as speculation mounts, so too does the tension over who will look to sign him. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the most likely options on the table for the 31-year-old in greater detail...
Let’s start on Tyneside, and the nouveau riche of Newcastle United. The Magpies have been relatively reserved in their spending ever since their Saudi takeover in 2021, but with the looming possibility of a Champions League campaign next season, and with aspirations simmering nicely, it would be no shock to see them flex their financial muscle a little more menacingly this summer.
As far as marquee signings go, they don’t get much bigger than Neymar, and there has arguably never been a more opportune time to swoop for the Brazilian. PSG are said to be eager to loosen the noose of Financial Fair Play by offloading his £44 million annual salary, and as such it is understood that they would be willing to offer a ‘significantly reduced deal’ in an effort to expedite his departure, as per UOL.
But while Newcastle could certainly offer Neymar a tempting proposition in terms of both finances and adulation, there are those that have their doubts over the wisdom of them pursuing a transfer in the coming months. Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, for instance, has expressly questioned whether his arrival in the North East would be worth the potential disruption it would bring with it.
Speaking on his own podcast, the former England defender said: “That would scare me to death, that sort of signing.
“Neymar is a sensational player but I think Eddie Howe all of a sudden would sort of have a circus - Eddie Howe doesn’t need a circus up here. You think about what Newcastle are at this moment in time, they’re building, they’ve got foundations. What you don’t want to do is basically go and disrupt that. Fans are really behind the team they’re behind the manager, there’s a sort of a spirit building.
“They’re going to need to do it at some point, go for those big name signings, and they’re going to need to make that jump and Eddie’s going to need to be brave, at a point.”
Interestingly, however, UOL’s report on the matter would seem to suggest that the Magpies are of a similar stance to Neville in the sense that they are said to be reluctant to sign Neymar in the immediate future.
Alongside Newcastle, Chelsea have also been touted as a possible destination for Neymar in recent weeks. The Blues have taken an infamously scatter-gunned approach to their recruitment strategy under Todd Boehly, and are named as one of the ‘most likely’ clubs to lure him away from PSG by that aforementioned UOL report.
Their cause is aided by Neymar’s own apparent desire to leave the French capital at the end of the season. The forward has sparked controversy of late by liking an Instagram post that labelled PSG a ‘small club’, and another claiming that both he and teammate Lionel Messi were ‘happier at Barcelona’. The South American is also facing growing pressure from supporters to call time on his stint with the Ligue 1 giants. It was only recently that a group of protesting fans gathered outside of his home, chanting for his exit.
Chelsea may also have room for an extra attacker in their squad next season, according to reports from Spain. As per AS, Atletico Madrid are ‘not convinced’ that the Blues will sign loanee Joao Felix on a permanent deal this summer, and as such could have room for one more extortionate talisman.
And then there’s Manchester United. As is often the case whenever a player of Neymar’s calibre is put on the market, the Red Devils are buzzing around on the periphery of the conversation, and like Chelsea, have been named as one of the interested parties in securing his signature. They could, however, hold a key advantage over their rivals.
Back in 2019, it was reported by Mundo Deportivo that Neymar was open to joining United, and might well have headed to Old Trafford were it not for a lack of Champions League football at the time. Assuming that Erik ten Hag’s side can hang on to their top spot this season - and by no means is that a certainty given recent results - then you would imagine that there will be a degree of hope that the affections between both player and club can be rekindled once more.