Will this season be Neymar’s last with PSG?
As was the case in 2017 when Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222m fee, the biggest transfer deal this year could again involve the Brazilian forward.
The 27-year-old has been the subject of controversy ever since his move to France, and although he has earned five domestic trophies with Les Parisiens, their failure to win the Champions League despite their embarrassment of riches in attack means that the hefty investment could be seen as a failure as far as on-the-pitch results are concerned.
Neymar has not been able to help PSG towards European glory to date, but the striker has notched 64 goals in 73 appearances for them - an impressive return that would certainly convince the elite clubs that the former Barcelona star is still firmly in his prime.
Top betting sites are accepting wagers on who the player’s next club will be, with most markets listed being for his club after the January transfer window. While a move this month may be unlikely, the odds still give a good indication as to his potential suitor when he does walk away from Le Parc des Princes.
Amid all the talk of a departure, there is still no guarantee that this season will be Neymar’s last in Paris. His contract runs until 2022, and as per ESPN, he said in December: “Last year, I talked a lot. Now, I am a PSG player and I give 100 percent for the club - I will give my life on the pitch for PSG to succeed.”
But links with other top clubs are not going away, and with Kylian Mbappe leading the line in stunning fashion for PSG, the French champions may be tempted by a big offer in the summer.
A Neymar and Barcelona reunion was blocked by PSG in 2019, but it is expected that the Catalan giants will look to swoop again at the end of this campaign.
Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi turns 33 in June, and reports in Spain suggest that Barcelona see Neymar as the ideal long-term replacement.
The bookmakers have FCB as the favourites to secure his signature for a second time, with a January transfer priced as low as 5/2 by some betting sites and a summer move even shorter.
Should a return to the Camp Nou not take place, Barcelona’s biggest rivals, Real Madrid, could be next in line. Los Blancos were also in the mix in 2019 but could not come up with the funds after Eden Hazard joined and neither Gareth Bale or James Rodriguez left.
If they can balance the books and sell some key players this year, entering the race for Neymar becomes a possibility again, albeit less probable than a Barcelona move, hence the longer odds.
The Manchester United rebuild has been a disastrous one so far, with poor recruitment being at the heart of the problems at Old Trafford.
Even though the Red Devils find themselves way behind the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, their brand image and global appeal is still a huge draw for big-name players, and they would certainly be keen if a superstar like Neymar became available.
An outside bet for sure, but even though Champions League football is not a guarantee, Neymar ending up at United is not as farfetched as you might think.
During the Neymar transfer rumour saga of 2019, it was claimed in Italy that Juventus made an audacious bid that included Paulo Dybala as a part exchange.
Partnering Neymar with Cristiano Ronaldo would make for a formidable strike force, and Juve are not afraid to splash the cash as they proved with the €75m capture of Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt in July.
While the Serie A side have won eight league titles in a row, they are still searching for that first European triumph since 1996.
Another English club that appears in most of the betting markets for Neymar’s next club is Chelsea. They recently had their transfer ban lifted and while it has been a progressive season for them in terms of developing young players, they are a long way off contending for a Premier League title and would need to add some serious firepower if they are to compete any time soon.
Backing the Blues to lure Neymar to London would be an audacious punt, but almost anything is possible when you have a billionaire owner.
In the unpredictable world of football, it can be very tricky to forecast who moves where. In the case of Neymar, many are predicting that this will be his last term in France and although Barcelona are favourites to land the Brazil international, no deal of this size is straightforward.
If you want to wager a few quid on the striker’s destination, you can claim one of the free bet offers on UK betting sites and reap the rewards if your prediction is correct.
Whether he stays in France or heads to Spain, Italy or even England, expect this one to drag, potentially right up until deadline day.