The battle for Neymar’s future is on hiatus for now, as the Brazilian winger will remain at Paris Saint-Germain because the French club was unable to reach an agreement with Barcelona, according to multiple reports.
While a collection of names from the Catalonian club were offered to get their star Brazilian back on the squad, the players the Parisians were most interested in were Nelson Semedo and Ousman Dembele. While Barcelona denied PSG’s request for Semedo, Goal.com reports that it was ultimately Dembele’s refusal to move to Paris that hampered negotiations the most.
Neymar’s next opportunity to see the field for his current club will not be until Sept. 14, when the international break comes to an end, so he is currently heading to Miami to train with the Brazilian national team. While bringing in one of the world’s best players back into the fold is never objectively a bad thing, the winger’s return appears to have forced the club to do some damage control with supporters.
According to AS English, PSG have asked their ultras (hardcore supporters) to not be so hard on Neymar upon his return. This plea comes after the club was fined by the league for supporters holding anti-Neymar banners in the stands during the team’s season opener against Nimes.
During that fixture, fans chanted “Neymar, son of a bitch” and displayed banners with messages including “Neymar Casse toi” (“Neymar get lost”) and “Se faire taper par une pute n’arrive pas qu’en remontada tu t’en souviens?” (“Being hit by a prostitute doesn’t only happen during a comeback, do you remember?), in allusion to Neymar describing his career highlight being Barcelona’s stunning 6-1 defeat of PSG in the Champions League.
All in all, this news hurts Barcelona the most. The club had made roster moves specifically made with Neymar’s contract in mind, and now they’ll have to wait all the way until next summer to realistically have a shot at bringing him back to La Liga again. Sure, they have talent on their squad like emerging breakout 16-year-old Ansu Fati, and Antoine Griezmann—who is at least capable of greatness—but teenage players often lack the consistency and fitness that established stars have, and the former Atlético player has failed to live up to the hype after his move to Catalan came one year after he wanted it to. This team was looking forward to avenging last year’s disappointment in the Champions League, and now they’ll have to ask their aging great players to find another level of greatness in order for that goal to be achieved, which doesn’t seem likely.