Chelsea ‘more likely path’ for Brazil star after Paris meeting – with Man Utd ‘traumatised’ by Ronaldo

Chelsea ‘more likely path’ for Brazil star after Paris meeting – with Man Utd ‘traumatised’ by Ronaldo

Chelsea are the most likely destination for Neymar this summer with Manchester United still ‘traumatised’ by Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at the club, according to reports.

Neymar has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford this week with French publication L’Equipe claiming that Man Utd are in advanced talks to sign the Brazil international.

Paris Saint-Germain are open to allowing Neymar to leave on loan or permanently with the French side hoping to get his huge salary off their wage bill.

And ESPN Deportes now insist that a transfer to Chelsea is the ‘more likely path’ than a move to Man Utd with the report adding that ‘the chances of the Brazilian wearing the Red Devils jersey are slim’.

Sources have told ESPN that Man Utd are still ‘traumatised’ from Ronaldo’s time at Old Trafford and ‘do not want another superstar with a high salary who could cause problems in the dressing room’.

Ronaldo ended his turbulent second spell at Man Utd in November last year after both parties mutually agreed to terminate his contract following his controversial interview with Piers Morgan.

The report continues by claiming that Chelsea’s ‘attention is focused’ on sealing a deal for Neymar after ESPN revealed ‘in February that Todd Boehly, owner of the Blues, and Nasser Al-Khelaifi , president of PSG , met in Paris’.

Chelsea owner Boehly was ‘tempted’ to pursue a deal for Neymar in the winter transfer window and his arrival this summer would be ‘another step in the reconstruction of the Chelsea squad’.

Ligue 1 expert Jonathan Johnson has confirmed there has been no “direct contact” between Man Utd and PSG for Neymar, while he reckons a move outside of Europe is now the “most realistic option” for the Brazil international.

Johnson wrote in his Caught Offside column: “One of the big stories of the week has involved Neymar and those links with Manchester United.

“It’s important to be clear that, what’s happened there is not any direct contact between United and any other club with PSG, but it’s intermediaries, who are aware that PSG want to move Neymar on, and that’s nothing new, they tried to do so last summer as well.

Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar Jr celebrates scoring a goal in a Coupe de France game.

“The difference now is PSG have finally realised that they probably won’t be able to get rid of Neymar on a permanent deal, so they might accept a loan deal with an option or obligation to make the move permanent. The key for PSG is to get as much of his wages off their bill as possible, and that’s going to be a massive challenge.

“Overall, I don’t think we can describe Neymar’s time at PSG as anything but underwhelming. I don’t think he’s set out to achieve what he wanted to achieve when he joined as the most expensive footballer of all time in 2017, and I don’t think PSG have achieved what they wanted to either.

“It’s become quite a problematic situation, as we saw with the recent protests outside his house, with fans chanting that they wanted him to leave. That tells you all you need to know about Neymar’s relationship with the club’s fans now, and to be honest, there haven’t been too many European clubs who think Neymar would be a smart signing at this moment in time.

“He’s 31, he’s coming off the back of another injury – one which he really should have had surgery on when he arrived in Paris six years ago, and if you look at his social media, there’s nothing about football, it’s all gambling promotions and that kind of stuff.

“I think a lot of clubs are now wary that, despite the fact that Neymar once had the potential to be a Ballon d’Or winner, he’s on the verge of perhaps using up all his credit in Europe, so I think potentially a lucrative move to somewhere like Saudi Arabia could be the most realistic option for him now.

“Any European club making an offer for Neymar would have to be able to offer Champions League football, and it just doesn’t look a worthwhile risk when you look at the wages he’s on, with PSG so keen to get most, if not all of that off their books.

“That looks a difficult ask for most European clubs, especially with the way business is being done these days. There’s not as much in the way of frivolous spending sprees, I think those days are more or less over; you look at someone like Newcastle United, who, under very wealthy owners, have got into the Champions League without spending stupid amounts of money on statement signings like Neymar, so why would they change now?

“Neymar certainly hasn’t shown anything in the last few years that suggests he’d be a game-changer anymore for big European clubs like that.

“His stats were pretty decent before the World Cup, but there’s the sense that that was more because of a focus on getting into form ahead of Qatar, rather than because of anything going on at PSG. His form then tailed off hugely, and if he’s going to be so selective about when he turns it on then I think a lot of clubs will be put off by that, because it’s clear that he can be a disruptive presence in the dressing room and away from the pitch as well.

Johnson added: “On a side note, there’s not much to the links with Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae. PSG have already secured the signing of Milan Skriniar on a free transfer from Inter Milan. PSG wanted him in January but he’s set to join as a free agent this summer instead, though one issue since then is that he’s had to have an operation on a back problem, so there’s no guarantee that he’s going to be in a better state than someone like Presnel Kimpembe, who’s also been out with a long-term injury.

“So if PSG do bring someone in as a defensive reinforcement, I think it would more likely be a squad option. Assuming Marquinhos signs his new contract and PSG go with a three-man defence, that would likely be Marquinhos, Skriniar and Kimpembe as the first choice, so there doesn’t look to be room for Kim, who would also be extremely expensive. There’s also some uncertainty over Sergio Ramos and whether it would be worth keeping him around for another season.

“On top of that, there’s also uncertainty over who will be PSG’s coach next season, so that creates a lot of unanswered questions over things like Neymar’s future, and probably makes a costly signing like Kim unlikely.”

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