Paris Saint-Germain are so confident of signing Neymar that they were on Monday preparing his unveiling. They hope to conclude a deal this week to buy the forward from Barcelona for a world record £197m, the Brazilian’s release clause.
A five-year contract has been ready for several days and just needs to be signed. When PSG bought Zlatan Ibrahimovic five summers ago they welcomed him on the Trocadéro at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The club are planning something even bigger for Neymar.
The structure of the transfer, including Neymar’s £26m-a-year salary, is not yet known but PSG are adamant they will respect financial fair play regulations. To make sure they do not expose themselves to sanctions they are preparing to sacrifice some members of the squad.
Ángel Di María carries the likely highest value, at around £45m, among the players the club are willing to sell. Serge Aurier is expected to leave for around £20m and Blaise Matuidi, who has one year left on his contract, could fetch a similar fee. Hatem Ben Arfa, Jesé and Grzegorz Krychowiak were already on the transfer list.
The right-winger Lucas is unlikely to be sold as he has a very close relationship with Neymar, a friend since the age of six, and could be useful for integrating his compatriot.
In response to suggestions that Barcelona may make a complaint over financial fair play, a Uefa spokesman said: “We haven’t received any complaint regarding this matter but, irrespective of whether we receive a complaint or not, we would in any case look into the details of such a transfer if it goes ahead to ensure that it respects financial fair play rules.
“PSG must respect financial fair play rules as do all other clubs in Europe. They must demonstrate that they do not have losses of more than €30m over three years.
“The impact of a potential transfer of Neymar to PSG would have an effect on the club finances over several years. It is very difficult to judge this type of operation in advance as we do not know the plans of the French club. They could well sell a few players for a similar or even superior amount. We shall therefore only make calculations at the end and make sure that they respect the rules.”