PSG Transfer News: Real Madrid and Neymar Reportedly Discussing Deal

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2017

MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 05: Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Bayern Muenchen and Paris Saint-Germain at Allianz Arena on December 5, 2017 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Neymar and Real Madrid are already in talks about a possible transfer from Paris Saint-Germain next summer, according to OK Diario's Eduardo Inda (h/t Bruce Archer of the Daily Express).

Archer noted Inda's assertion both Neymar and Real want a switch to happen in 2018, despite an agreement over a later move: "He also claims there is a deal in place for Real Madrid to snap up Neymar after two seasons in France for the same fee PSG paid to Barcelona: £200m."

The timing of this rumour could be seen as mischievous or at least coincidental after Neymar and PSG were drawn to play holders Real in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Monday, per the tournament's official website.

Los Blancos' chances of tempting Neymar away from the French capital would surely be slim. After all, the Brazil international has instantly become the talisman for Les Parisiens since joining from Barcelona in the summer in a world-record transfer.

Former Barca star Neymar will face Real with PSG in the Champions League last 16.
Former Barca star Neymar will face Real with PSG in the Champions League last 16.Christophe Ena/Associated Press/Associated Press

The 25-year-old's numbers are spectacular, including nine goals and six assists in Ligue 1, to go with six goals and three assists in the Champions League.

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Neymar has been the inspiration for PSG topping their domestic league as well as finishing ahead of Bayern Munich in Group B of Europe's premier club competition.

However, it hasn't all been rosy for the forward since he swapped the Camp Nou for the Parc des Princes. ESPN FC's Julien Laurens described how he has struggled to co-exist with key figures at the club, including manager Unai Emery:

"There have been talks of a rift and that Neymar doesn't like Emery's long video analysis sessions. The forward is allowed privileges that his teammates do not get: such as his own physio and his own travel bag (when teammates have to take the club's one) and that can't be good for team morale."

Laurens also outlined issues away from the pitch:

"There have been plenty of comments about his partying, too. In recent times we have seen him with Lenny Kravitz (after the Bayern win); spending time with his mate Lewis Hamilton at Fashion Week in London; a few weeks later, he was partying until the early hours with U.S. rapper Tyga. Neymar is not at the level of Ronaldinho, who certainly enjoyed the Paris nightlife when he was at the club, but his regular appearances in the showbiz columns rather than the sport pages are a distraction."

Despite the growing pains as club and player get used to one another, it's easy to believe PSG would do all they can to hang on to the 25-year-old. The South American star is a marketable personality and is also approaching his peak years as a player.

Neymar has reportedly had his issues in Paris.
Neymar has reportedly had his issues in Paris.TF-Images/Getty Images

PSG have been attempting to break into the bracket of Europe's elite clubs ever since Nasser Al-Khelaifi assumed control as part of the Oryx Qatar Sports Investments group in 2011.

Signing and building around big names, both on the pitch and in the dugout, has been a key part of Al-Khelaifi's presidency. While it's worked to help PSG dominate French football, he knows conquering the Champions League regularly will be essential in putting the club alongside Real and Barca as the dominant names on the continent.

Achieving this particular aim will be easier with Neymar in the fold. His combination with strikers Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe has already made Les Parisiens irresistible in attack.

The trick for Al-Khelaifi will be to build the rest of the squad up to meet the standards his prolific front three are setting.

If Real are determined to eventually bring Neymar back to La Liga, there is surely no need to rush, despite Archer saying Los Blancos want the Brazilian to replace Cristiano Ronaldo.

Real reportedly want Neymar to help the club move on from the Ronaldo era.
Real reportedly want Neymar to help the club move on from the Ronaldo era.Power Sport Images/Getty Images

He may be 32, but Ronaldo recently won his fifth FIFA Ballon d'Or award and topped the Champions League group stage with nine goals. The Portugal international also told (h/t Sky Sports) he is physically and mentally prepared to play into his 40s.

Whatever Los Merengues' plans are for life after Ronaldo, PSG should stay strong to fend off any interest in Neymar. He is the marquee performer the French club needs to drag it into the top echelon of Europe's footballing powers.