August 16, 2022

Neymar is considering his options after deciding the time has come to leave Paris Saint-Germain – ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest. MORE: Erik ten Hag has sent out a warning over Manchester United dressing room leaks.

Jump to: Ten Hag received a warning from Man Utd | Barca’s lack of signings upset Xavi | Chelsea feared Lukaku’s repeat | Barca shaken by Elvis tweets | Spurs love set piece guru

Neymar reflects on PSG loopholes

Neymar plans to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer, sources have told ESPN, after finding out the club are happy with his departure.

Contact has been made with Chelsea, one of the few clubs capable of signing Neymar, due to new owner Todd Boehly’s desire to make a big statement in the transfer market this summer.

Meanwhile, his Brazilian teammate and close friend Thiago Silva has come out in favor of Neymar joining him at Stamford Bridge. However, it remains to be seen whether Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel want to recruit the 30-year-old.

Neymar’s agent Pini Zahavi is trying hard to identify other potential suitors but is aware that only two or three teams could come close to the money Neymar earns at PSG.

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Neymar signed a new contract with PSG 12 months ago, with an annual salary of €43m gross without bonuses, and he now has five years left on that deal after a clause was reportedly triggered to extend it until 2027.

PSG are open to Neymar’s departure as they seek to overhaul their squad and change their culture from star players to a team ethic. Kylian Mbappe will be the focal point at the heart of the project, following his surprise decision to snub Real Madrid and sign a new contract.

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona for a record fee of €222m in August 2017, and his five years in France have been mixed. Despite winning Ligue 1 four times, PSG fell short of winning the Champions League, with the 2020 final loss to Bayern Munich being the closest. –Julien Laurens

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The ESPN FC team discuss Manchester United’s willingness to start over and Erik ten Hag’s reluctance to work with Ralf Rangnick in his proposed consultancy role.

Ten Hag sent warning over Man United leaks

Erik ten Hag has made building a dressing room spirit at Manchester United one of his main goals this summer after being told of a series of leaks within the squad last season, sources have said at ESPN.

Ten Hag, who took charge of his first day of training at Carrington on Monday, was told a number of stories of player unrest aired during a disastrous campaign which saw United finish sixth in the Premier League.

Sources have told ESPN that players will be encouraged to be more open in interviews next season, but have been told disagreements between individuals should be handled internally and not made public. Players were also asked to pass on the message to family members and agents. Ten Hag’s assistant, Steve McClaren, will be brought in to act as a bridge between the players and management in an effort to resolve any issues that arise.

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Sources added that the club believe mistrust between players – particularly in the second half of the season under caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick – contributed to a poor end to the campaign which saw United win three of their last 14 matches. United hope the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, due to start on July 8 and last two and a half weeks, will help the team strengthen their ties ahead of the new season.

Sources said players who returned to Carrington this week were impressed with Ten Hag during his first days as manager. He was keen to lead sessions instead of leaving the coaching to his assistants, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick did.

Ten Hag has also already ruled the roost after bringing the first wave of players back to Carrington a week earlier. The team was first told that pre-season training would start on July 4 until Ten Hag moved the date forward a week. -Rob Dawson

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Shaka Hislop explains why he’s completely OK with Messi returning to Barcelona when his contract with PSG ends.

Barcelona transfer difficulties frustrate Xavi

Xavi Hernandez is disappointed with Barcelona’s lack of progress in the transfer market so far this summer, sources have told ESPN.

Barca’s pre-season officially starts on July 4 but Xavi was on the training ground this week for a series of meetings with sporting director Mateu Alemany and sporting advisor Jordi Cruyff. He was updated on the latest ins and outs but has been frustrated by the lack of concrete activity since the end of the season in May.

Before going on holiday, the Barca coach let several players know that they were no longer part of his plans. However, only B-team striker Ferran Jutgla has left the club so far, sources admitting to ESPN are worried about the lack of movement out of the Camp Nou.

Xavi, who accepts the financial situation is making things difficult, has also drawn up a list of transfer targets for the club to work on, including Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde, but entries are highly dependent on exits and commercial deals.

Barca players return to training on Monday and then travel to the United States for four friendlies. Xavi hopes that Alemany and Cruyff will have good news for him by then. –Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens

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Craig Burley talks about Romelu Lukaku’s time at Chelsea and his return to Inter Milan on loan.

Chelsea feared Lukaku’s problem

Chelsea’s desire to deliver a major financial blow to Romelu Lukaku was partly born out of fear that history could repeat itself, sources have told ESPN.

When the idea of ​​a loan return to Inter Milan was first mooted, the Blues made it clear they were looking for a fee of at least €20m – a high figure but intended to to offset the 12-month depreciation of a player the club paid 115 million euros for last summer alone.

However, sources have told ESPN there are internal fears Lukaku could become a problematic figure at Chelsea, with the players due to leave for their pre-season tour of the United States at the end of next week.

Manchester United had problems with Lukaku’s behavior in 2019 before he moved to Inter, fining him two weeks’ wages while training away from the first team without permission while he was waving for a transfer.

Lukaku’s relationship with Thomas Tuchel had been strained since the striker gave an unauthorized interview in December citing his frustrations at Stamford Bridge and his desire to return to Inter.

Given that there was only one likely destination, Chelsea decided to cut their losses and facilitate a quick start with interim chairman and sporting director Todd Boehly keen to draw a line under Lukaku’s troubles at the club rather than risk further problems.

Sources say Inter have finally agreed to pay €8m upfront with around €5m more in add-ons and will cover Lukaku’s £300,000 weekly salary. — James Olley

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Lucy Bronze talks about joining Barcelona on a free transfer after leaving Man City.

Barcelona rocked by Elvis tweets

Elvis didn’t even enter the Barcelona building. The club withdrew from appointing Elvis Coca as scout this week after old tweets praised Real Madrid and criticized the Catalan side.

Coca, working in a similar role at second division CD Mirandes, had already agreed a deal with Barca when the social media posts surfaced. In the tweets, which have since been deleted, Coca celebrated Real Madrid’s wins and complained that Barca were getting help from the referees.

“I missed the opportunity of a lifetime,” Coca lamented on Spanish radio after Barca informed him their offer had been taken off the table.

It’s not the first time that Barca reneged on a deal due to historical social media posts. They pulled out of signing striker Sergi Guardiola in 2015 over a series of anti-Catalan tweets.

Sources have told ESPN that this has led to internal complaints about why these situations cannot be avoided with more thorough background checks when signing players and appointing personnel. –Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens

Tottenham love set piece guru

Tottenham are in talks to add set piece specialist Gianni Vio to their backstage team, sources have told ESPN.

Spurs are making progress in the transfer window with Richarlison and Clement Lenglet set to join Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster and Yves Bissouma as new arrivals in north London, but head coach Antonio Conte is also hoping to make an addition important to his team behind the scenes.

Vio, 69, previously worked with AC Milan, Leeds United, Brentford and Fiorentina before joining Roberto Mancini’s coaching staff as Italy won Euro 2020 last summer. Rumor has it that Vio created 4,830 set piece routines.

If a deal can be reached – and talks are ongoing – Spurs should be nothing if not innovative in dead-ball situations next season. –James Olley