The Brazilian moved to the French capital in 2017 in a world record £198million move from Barcelona as he looked to step out of Lionel Messi‘s shadow and go solo in his bid to become the best player in the sport.
But the truth is that it has never really felt like a settled relationship between Neymar and the Ligue 1 giants.
Neymar endured another extremely frustrating night with Paris Saint-Germain in Europe
The defeat by Manchester City on Tuesday was a painful one to take for the Brazilian forward
From the off the Brazilian had problems in Paris and he even went AWOL in the summer of 2019 as he tried to force through a return to Barcelona just two years on from PSG stumping up the eye-watering transfer fee.
PSG even went as far as confirming they would take disciplinary action against the world’s most expensive player for not reporting back for his pre-season duties.
PSG had rocked European football’s hierarchy when their Qatari owners sanctioned a shock move for the former Santos man, in what was dubbed ‘Operation Neymar’, but things quickly threatened to turn into a petty circus in the French capital.
Neymar made it very clear to then PSG boss Thomas Tuchel that he wanted to reunite with Messi and Luis Suarez at the Nou Camp but as much as Barcelona wanted him, they could not fork out the required money.
So Neymar reluctantly stayed put and he had a long way back to appease the PSG faithful. But over time, that relationship has healed somewhat and there has recently been talk that he could even extend his deal in Paris.
With the 29-year-old’s deal at PSG expiring next summer, PSG are looking to tie him down to a lucrative long-term contract extension as they are desperate to ensure he doesn’t leave for free in 2022 or on a cheap deal in the upcoming transfer window.
Neymar himself has admitted that he is happier than ever in France, claiming: ‘I have got time on my contract here at PSG. We want to do what is the best for everyone.
‘I have already said that I am happy here and I feel much better than in the previous seasons.’
Mundo Deportivo report that Barcelona are on red alert regarding Neymar’s situation with PSG
But in the background, once again Barcelona have been chipping away and are determined to entice him back to the Nou Camp.
There have been continuous reports claiming Barca are trying to lure him back this summer and Mundo Deportivo took advantage of PSG’s Champions League exit to fuel a potential transfer even further.
The Spanish publication report that Barcelona know Neymar wants to return and believe PSG’s European heartbreak could provoke his exit this summer.
But how realistic is a sensational return to the Catalan giants?
If Barcelona were to pull off a deal for Neymar, it really would be a sensational coup and arguably the most spoken about transfer all summer – alongside wherever £154m man Erling Haaland ends up.
Neymar was supposed to turn the Parisians into a European powerhouse and establish himself as the best player on the planet following his move just under four years ago.
But that has been far from the case, with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo having continued to dominate the sport in recent years. And once again this season, the Champions League has continued to elude the Brazilian.
PSG’s exit against Pep Guardiola’s Man City side on Tuesday night at the Etihad confirmed even further that his move to Paris simply hasn’t worked out yet.
The Brazilian has been linked with a sensational reunion with Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp
Neymar was on the periphery in Manchester as Mauricio Pochettino’s side had no answers to City’s scintillating football and stubborn defence.
As the tie slipped further and further away from PSG’s grasp, Neymar and his PSG team-mates started to lose their heads in a desperate bid to somehow claw their way back into the semi-final.
It is a PSG team that has been built to win Europe’s biggest prize, assembling a staggeringly expensive side full of superstars, including Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti, Marquinhos and Co.
Since Neymar’s mega-money move to France, PSG failed to get past the last-16 stage in his first two seasons at the club before losing last season’s final to Bayern Munich prior to going out with a whimper against City.
While they have dominated in France for years (although this season is going down to the wire in Ligue 1), they have simply failed to live up to expectations in the Champions League – the prize everyone at the club is so desperately craving.
And Neymar is no different. The longer the wait for European glory, the more his head will turn.
Neymar’s patience will be wearing thin at PSG and Barcelona will be looking to capitalise on his situation – with them knowing he would love to partner Messi again up top at the Nou Camp before the six-time Ballon d’Or winner eventually leaves for the MLS, perhaps.
Mauricio Pochettino will be desperate to tie the 29-year-old down to a new deal in Paris
But despite Neymar getting ready to enter his final year in the French capital and with rumours in full swing regarding his uncertain future, it’s hard to see past Barcelona’s current financial crisis.
At the start of February, Barcelona’s debt was considered to be at around £1billion – meaning major transfer targets are unlikely.
It’s impossible to grasp how Barcelona can afford a romantic move for Neymar in their current predicament amid the Covid pandemic, and even if the Brazilian is on the market for slightly cheaper in the summer if PSG haven’t yet struck up new terms, he would surely still be out of the Spaniard’s price range.
With other clubs also set to be priced out of a move for Neymar given what PSG paid for his services in 2017, there don’t appear to be many avenues out for the Brazilian forward.
PSG will do everything in their powers to keep hold of their 29-year-old, and coinciding with a lack of proper interest elsewhere, it’s hard to look past him signing a new deal in France.
Neymar will certainly want more from his time with PSG and won’t feel satisfied until he has finally won the Champions League again.
If his dream turns into reality soon enough then rumours of a move away will stop, but Neymar and PSG both know that if their European ambitions continue to evade them, then they may have to part ways somewhere down the line.