Real Madrid have reignited their interest in wantaway Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, as details have begun to emerge about his issues with sporting director Leonardo.
Neymar failed to return to the club for the beginning of pre-season training, prompting Leonardo to state that he is free to leave the club if they receive a suitable offer.
Barcelona are thought to be his preferred destination but, given the complications around such a deal, Sport claim that long-term admirers Real have now re-entered the race for his signature.
Having failed to sign Neymar twice since 2011, Real president Florentino Perez is desperate to force through a move this time around. He knows full well that Neymar would prefer Barcelona, but he is also aware that PSG would much prefer to sell to Real, given their poor relationship with Barcelona.
He plans to sit back and hope that negotiations between Barcelona and PSG collapse, which will allow him to swoop in and conclude a deal. However, Barcelona hope the Brazilian rejects Real regardless.
PSG are unlikely to make any decision on Neymar’s future until they have spoken with the player himself. According to L’Equipe, they will meet on Monday to discuss his recent behaviour and defiance of Leonardo.
Paris United state that Neymar’s attitude has come about as a result of Leonardo’s insistence that he will not be given special treatment anymore. Former director Antero Henrique had agreed to give Neymar extra time off, but Leonardo insisted that he must return with the rest of the team.
This did not sit well with Neymar, who consciously decided to go against his club’s orders and remain on holiday.
Once they meet, Neymar will discuss his potential departure from Paris, in the hope of convincing the club to do business with Barcelona.
Mundo Deportivo add that the Blaugrana are not prepared to meet PSG’s €222m asking price, and will instead pursue a player-plus-cash deal including at least one of Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti or perhaps even Ousmane Dembele.
Such a complicated deal will have plenty of opportunities to go wrong but, even if all goes according to plan, the offer must please PSG owner Sheikh