Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has confirmed that Neymar can leave the club this summer if an offer that suits all parties arrives and that Barcelona have been in vague contact.
PSG issued an official statement on Monday condemning Neymar for missing the first day of preseason training amid strong links with a return to Barcelona, while Leonardo spoke with Le Parisien at length about the situation.
“Neymar can leave PSG if there is an offer made that suits everybody,” Leonardo said. “For now, we do not know if anybody wants to buy him or at what price. What is certain is that this sort of thing does not get done in one day.
“We have not received any offers, but there has been very superficial contact [with Barca]. They said they want to buy him but that we do not want to sell him. That is what [Barca chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu] said, but we did not see them in a real buying position.”
Leonardo was adamant that Neymar knew that he was due to report for preseason training on Monday but that he has instead committed himself to his institute and sponsors without PSG’s permission.
“He was not at the resumption of training,” Leonardo said. “He needed to arrive but did not — he knew to be there. We will study potential measures to take, as we would do with any other employee.
“He made commitments, but these dates were not agreed with PSG. His last match was June 6 and holidays were until July 8. Then, he did not come.”
Leonardo also confirmed that he has spoken with Neymar and his entourage but refused to elaborate — although he did emphasise that all parties are clear on his situation.
“I do not want to go into details over our conversation. We talked with his entourage too. Everybody knows everything — the position is clear for everyone. One thing is absolutely concrete, though, and that is that Neymar has three more years of contract with us. With no offer, there is nothing to discuss.
“In the case of Neymar, who was late for preseason training, will it be the club’s fault for not handling this? No. If the player arrives late, it is their fault. There are internal procedures that follow, so we will see how things go. Players do not show up for training elsewhere than PSG.”
Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe, Marco Verratti and new signing Ander Herrerawere all present on Monday for a number of tests ahead of preparation for the 2019-20 campaign, but the French champions went public and said that Neymar did not report for duty as agreed.
“On Monday 8 July, Neymar was due to return to preseason activities with the PSG senior squad,” read the club statement. “PSG notes that Neymar was not in attendance at the agreed time and place.”
PSG went on to clarify that Neymar did not have permission to be absent and stated that the Brazil international will be punished.
“This was without the club’s prior authorisation,” PSG added. “The club regrets this situation and will therefore take appropriate action.”
A spokesman for Neymar told ESPN Brasil that the club had been informed months ago that he would not return to Paris until July 15 due to his “commercial and institutional agenda.”
Neymar, who has been warned about his commitment by PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi, missed Brazil’s Copa America success on home soil this summer because of injury and was expected to be present in Paris so his latest fitness issues could be assessed.
Sources have told ESPN FC already this summer that Les Parisiens are open to selling the €222 million man after two incomplete seasons at Parc des Princes, while Barca president Josep Bartomeu has claimed that the La Liga outfit know that Neymar wants to return to Camp Nou.
Also, according to ESPN FC sources, Philippe Coutinho is likely to be added to any potential deal with PSG to take his compatriot back to Spain and Antoine Griezmann’s impending arrival would not be an obstacle to Neymar’s return.