Chelsea, Barcelona and five potential destinations for PSG star Neymar

Brazilian forward could be heading for the Paris Saint-Germain exit this summer

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Neymar could be set for a sensational exit from Paris Saint-Germain this summer, if various media reports are to be believed.

Speculation regarding the Brazilian forward's future continues to create headlines. PSG are reportedly prepared to let the world's most expensive player leave as the French champions aim to overhaul their squad and build the team around Kylian Mbappe, who committed his future to the club having appeared set to leave for Real Madrid.

According to ESPN, Neymar's agent, Pini Zahavi, has been working to identify potential destinations for his client, although the 30-year-old's astronomical wages will pose a major obstacle for any interested clubs.

Neymar last year signed a new contract until 2025 and it is understood an extension clause was recently triggered that extends the deal to 2027. That contract is worth an astounding £785,000 ($950,200) per week, so even if Neymar was made another club's highest earner, he will likely need to take a significant pay cut.

So, which clubs could be in contention to sign Neymar this summer if the Brazil international does indeed leave PSG? Here are five potential destinations.

Chelsea

According to the ESPN report, contact has been made between Neymar's representatives and Chelsea to establish whether there could be an interest in signing the Brazilian.

New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is keen to make some statement signings this summer, and Neymar would certainly fit the bill. The Blues struggled for regular goals from their attacking players last season, and with Romelu Lukaku returning on loan to Inter Milan, there is a void at Stamford Bridge for a top-class forward.

Neymar would be a better suited to Thomas Tuchel's fluid attacking front-three than Lukaku, and the pair have previously worked successfully together during Tuchel's time at PSG. In fact, Neymar is a big fan of the Chelsea manager, once saying: "Thomas Tuchel? I would give my life on the pitch for him. He is a truly brilliant man."

Of course, the player's wages and any transfer fee required for the move would be the biggest obstacle. Chelsea's highest-paid player is N'Golo Kante on £290,000 per week - around 37 per cent of Neymar's PSG contract - although the departure of Lukaku and his £325,000-a-week wages would alleviate some of the financial strain.

Neymar worked with Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel during their time together at PSG. PA

Manchester United

A club not afraid to pay premium wages, Manchester United would be one of the few potential suitors to have the financial power to offer Neymar a contract that would at least come somewhere close to his PSG deal.

Like Chelsea, United have also reportedly been approached by Neymar's team regarding a possible move this summer, and there is a need at Old Trafford to ease the goalscoring burden on 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo.

Whether there is significant interest on both sides remains to be seen. New United manager Erik ten Hag has made Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez his primary transfer targets, while Neymar would likely be more interested in joining a club involved in the Champions League and in a position to immediately contend for major trophies.

Erik ten Hag is looking to shape his Manchester United squad ahead of his debut season, with Frenkie De Jong and Lisandro Lopez understood to be his top transfer targets. PA

Manchester City

Another Premier League club reportedly sounded out by Team Neymar, City were linked with an approach for the Brazilian earlier this summer and could offer the trophy-challenging environment he would no doubt crave, not to mention an attractive financial package.

The arrival of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund diminishes the need for another central striker, although the impending exit of Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal and the constant speculation surrounding Raheem Sterling and a possible move to Chelsea could make Neymar a plausible target.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City could offer Neymar the opportunity to compete for major titles, although the arrival of Erling Haaland means the club is well-stocked for strikers. PA

Barcelona

Should Neymar leave PSG, it is no secret that in a perfect world he would run back to Barcelona. Indeed, recent reports have claimed both Neymar and Barcelona manager Xavi - who played alongside the Brazilian at the Camp Nou for two seasons - are interested in making the move happen, five years after Neymar left for a world record €222m ($231.5m).

However, if the financials would be a stretch for other interested clubs, they would appear downright impossible for Barcelona, who are still contending with significant debts.

It would require a major rejig of the squad and even bigger balancing of the books - and Neymar accepting an enormous pay cut - but if there really is a will, perhaps there's a way.

Xavi Hernandez is reportedly interested in taking Neymar back to Barcelona but financial constraints could be a major obstacle. EPA

Real Madrid

It may on the surface appear the most unlikely of outcomes, given Neymar's strong affiliation for Barcelona, but a move to Real Madrid could make plenty of sense.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has a penchant for making bold signings and the club have had no qualms recruiting players with a Barcelona history. Add to Real Madrid still smarting after failing to get a deal for Mbappe over the line - a deal Real were so confident in securing they refused to contend for Haaland's signature - and an approach for Neymar would very much be on brand for Perez.

Neymar would be wary of the backlash from Barca fans but if the money and opportunity are right, it could prove a difficult proposal to refuse, particularly if PSG are determined to offload him this summer.

Carlo Ancelotti was expected to have Kylian Mbappe in his squad for next season but the striker opted to commit his future to PSG. AFP
Updated: July 05, 2022, 10:49 AM
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