Despite three wins from three in their first competitive games of the new season, all is not well at PSG right now.
Much like the “why can’t you just be normal" meme, there always has to be something going on at the Parisian club. It’s far too simple for everything to be fine and there to be no drama. This is a club whose very identity is in the drama.
Despite beating Montpellier 5-2 on Saturday evening (to go with 4-0 and 5-0 wins over Nantes and Clermont in the Trophee des Champions and Ligue 1 respectively) a report emerged on Sunday that all was not well.
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The report said that star forward Kylian Mbappe, who signed a new deal with the club over the summer, is unhappy with fellow superstar Neymar, and their relationship has broken down to the extent that the World Cup winner wants the Brazilian to be sold.
This comes just a few weeks after it looked as if Neymar might have been moved on by the club, only for no move to materialise, partly down to the forward’s massive wages.
In order to try and get a better idea of what’s going on, we got in touch with Simon Farvacque from Eurosport France.
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What was your reaction to these reports and to Mbappe’s performance at the weekend?
So as well as these reports, there were a couple of moments from the Montpellier game that were picked up on social media.
One of them showed Mbappe practically giving up on an attack when the ball didn’t come his way, and another seemed to show him bumping into Lionel Messi is a rather aggressive fashion. Another showed Mbappe wanting a penalty off Neymar, despite having missed one.
“We were very careful about the clip with Messi,” says Farvacque. “It’s in slow motion, and in real time is only a couple of seconds, so it doesn’t feel like something to get worked up about.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappé
Image credit: Getty Images
“However, the action where he gave up the play is more shocking. It’s one of many examples of poor body language during the Montpellier game.”
And what about the reports?
“Again, we were very careful with these rumours at first. There were a lot of things said when Mbappe extended his contract with PSG, and at the time, we didn’t really know what the plans were for Neymar.
“If the reports are true, then it is not really a surprise if Mbappe wants to be the centre of a project, to win the Ballon d’Or, take penalties and free-kicks etc. We knew a lot of this already.”
What happens with this? Does Neymar leave?
So as Farvacque says, a report from RMC Sport suggests that Mbappe is not happy with the way Neymar and Messi are meshing again, and he would prefer more space to become the focal point in new manager Christophe Galtier’s three-at-the-back system.
Farvacque says “I think the truth is that Mbappe wouldn’t be sad if PSG decided to sell Neymar.
“But it has probably been exaggerated a little bit where people are saying ‘Mbappe absolutely wants Neymar out’. It’s more complex than that.
Image credit: Getty Images
“Last year, Neymar was a problem for PSG for sure, but this season he looks back to his best and that gives them the chance to win the Champions League, but it does take a little bit of the light away from Mbappe.”
So then, what do we think will happen with Neymar? There is reportedly a clause in his contract that, if triggered, extends him to 2027. It seems highly unlikely that many clubs would pay a high asking price considering the wages.
“I think there will be some talks very soon,” says Farvacque.
“Paris can’t afford to lose Neymar now, so everyone will have to clear the air and realise that they need each other.”
And what about PSG as a whole? Can they ever be normal?
“It’s a good question,” says Farvacque. “But I think we have to give Luis Campos and Galtier a chance.
“The way they handle this situation will tell us a lot about whether this really is a new PSG, or just the same old.”
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