Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva has said he is hopeful Neymar will stay at the club beyond the current transfer window despite continued speculation regarding his future.
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly interested in signing the Brazil international ahead of the window closing on September 2. Any move would come just a couple of years on from PSG making Neymar the most expensive player in the history of the game when he signed from Barcelona.
Silva said he's unsure whether his compatriot, who has yet to feature for PSG this season, will stick around, although said he wants him to remain in the French capital for the upcoming term, per James Westwood of Goal:
"Of course we miss him. I hope that in the end, he will be able to stay with us because he is an incredible guy, an indispensable player for this team but we have to wait for what will happen at the end of the transfer window.
"I cannot answer [if he will leave], but I feel he can stay. Neymar is a key player on this team, and he decides if he's happy to stay or not. We do not have to talk, it's always complicated, for a lot of things, we try to talk a little bit about it.
"It is difficult to get into things like that, it's between him and the club right now. We have to wait until the end to see what he decides, but I hope that in the end, he will stay. That way we will be much stronger."
Silva was speaking after PSG suffered a shock 2-1 defeat away at Rennes in their second game of the Ligue 1 season.
Romain Del Castillo scored the winner:
As The Spanish Football Podcast relayed, speculation linking Neymar with a move to Barcelona and Real Madrid remains incessant in Spain:
The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast
@alexkirkland @LaLigaEN More on today's 🇪🇸⚽️ headlines... 🗞️ Marca: "Atleti begin with enthusiasm" 🗞️ As: "Neymar: Madrid counter-attack" 🗞️ Mundo Deportivo: "Neymar wants Barça" 🗞️ Sport: "Wild negotiations" Here's the #tsfp Morning Paper Review ➡️ https://t.co/2vO8x9wZjT https://t.co/TqyJDHD2FY
The signing of Neymar in 2017 stunned the football world, although the transfer hasn't worked out completely as planned for PSG.
In the past two seasons, Neymar has suffered injuries that have ruled him out of the run-in, including crucial UEFA Champions League last-16 ties that PSG have lost.
Neymar has been effective for the French champions, though:
Ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, PSG confirmed Neymar returned late for pre-season training, and during the team's Ligue 1 opener, supporters at the Parc des Princes unfurled banners calling for the forward to be sold:
Per football journalist Tom Williams, jokes have been made about possible retractions in the aftermath of the loss to Rennes:
If Neymar can get fit and focused in the coming weeks, he still has the talent to be a major asset for PSG as they seek domestic and European glory. It appears key figures in the squad are still keen on him sticking around, too.
However, talk of interest from Spain doesn't seem to be fading away, meaning his future is likely to be in doubt right up until September 2.