SAUDIS STRIKE AGAIN

PARIS. Paris St-Germain have agreed a deal to sell Brazil forward Neymar to Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal for about 90m euros (£77.6m) plus add-ons.

The transfer is subject to the 31-year-old completing a medical and all necessary paperwork.

Neymar, who joined PSG for a world record fee of 222m euros in 2017, was left out of the squad for their Ligue 1 draw against Lorient on Saturday.

He was not part of coach Luis Enrique’s plans for the new season.

His exit also fits PSG’s strategy of moving away from the ‘Galacticos’ era of signing high-profile players for big fees and significant wages, with Lionel Messi also leaving the club earlier this summer.

Neymar was understood to be earning in the region of 25m euros (£21.6m) annually at the French side.

He has made 173 appearances for PSG, helping the club win 13 trophies, including five Ligue 1 titles, as well as reaching the 2020 Champions League final.

However, his time in the French capital has also been hampered by a number of ankle injuries.

The former Barcelona player had surgery in March that caused him to miss the rest of the season and he only resumed training in July.

He missed two of Brazil’s matches at the 2022 World Cup after being injured in their opening group match.

The forward also missed the 2019 Copa America after suffering torn ligaments in his right ankle and was out for several weeks in 2021 with a similar injury. 

News of the Neymar deal comes just 24 hours after PSG’s Kylian Mbappe was reintegrated back into first-team training after positive talks with the club.

The France forward, 24, had been in a contract stand-off amid a desire to join Real Madrid but could now extend his contract at PSG, with his current deal due to expire next summer.

Mbappe was also left out of the squad for the Lorient game and watched the match from the stands.

Last month, PSG gave Al-Hilal permission to talk to Mbappe after the Saudi side made a world-record £259m bid. 

If completed, the transfer will continue a remarkable summer spending spree by Saudi clubs, underlining the league’s ambition to be one of the top competitions in the world in the next few years.

The likes of Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Jordan Henderson, Ruben Neves, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have all moved to Saudi Arabia.

Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr from Manchester United in January. – BBC Sport.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *