Neymar's situation has been described as "unsettling" by Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel amid rumours the world's most expensive player will leave the French capital for Barcelona or Real Madrid this summer.
Tuchel was speaking at a press conference ahead of Sunday's Ligue 1 game against Toulouse and was naturally asked about Neymar:
"Neymar can play if the situation between him and the club is clear tomorrow. He is ready to play, but today the situation is not clear, maybe it will be tomorrow.
The Neymar situation is unsettling. It helps nobody. Everyone is used to this sort of situation surrounding Neymar. The same thing happened when he was injured. It is normal with the biggest stars."
Tuchel is regularly fielding questions about his best player while speculation intensifies that Neymar will return to La Liga. Barca are readying a final bid to ward off interest from bitter rivals Real, according to Sport (h/t Matt Maltby of the Daily Mirror).
The Blaugrana will believe they have the edge after Neymar helped the club win the UEFA Champions League in 2015. However, Los Blancos feel they can stay patient and still wrap up a deal for the Brazil international, per Marco Ruiz of AS.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague provided an update on the way things stand between the two clubs, the player and Les Parisiens:
Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague
Ultimatum from PSG went. Wanted definitive offer from FCB/Real. None of them moved Neymar asking #FCB to put more $$ on table as 2 offers already rejected (incl. loan+€170m obligatory buy) FCB want him to commit publicly. But he doesn't want any door closed. Including staying https://t.co/rYUCZuJa8W
In addition to the ongoing questions about his future, there are also concerns about Neymar's souring relationship with PSG supporters. The club was recently fined after fans displayed a banner criticising Neymar during the season-opening 3-0 win over Nimes at the Parc des Princes, per AS.
It's understandable Tuchel wants players who are fully focused on PSG. Yet leaving out even an unsettled Neymar is a risk the German may not be able to afford.
Tuchel has overseen an inconsistent start to the season, including a 2-1 defeat away to Rennes last time out. Neymar wasn't in the squad, and his flair, technique and vision were missed.
What Tuchel needs is for one of his other match-winners to assume the talismanic role in the final third Neymar has made his own. It's not as if there is a shortage of candidates, with Julian Draxler and Angel Di Maria obvious possibilities.
They need to fashion a consistent supply for the pace of Kylian Mbappe, as well as Edinson Cavani's power. Both will score their share of goals, but more chances and extra spaces are available to them when Neymar is also posing a threat to defences.
PSG's bid to add to their dominance in France by winning the Champions League is always going to be stronger with Neymar in the fold. The controversy and rumours surrounding him won't go away, but the club's performances will improve with Neymar back on the pitch as soon as possible.