Chelsea on Neymar alert as PSG look to axe €222m Brazil star

Neymar is considering his options after deciding it’s time to leave Paris Saint-Germain – ESPN’s insider’s notebook has the latest information. PLUS: Erik ten Hag warned of leaks in Manchester United dressing room

Move to: Ten Hag receives Man Utd warning | Barca’s lack of signings upset Xavi | Chelsea feared a repeat of Lukaku | Barca rocked by Elvis tweets | Spurs keen on standard guru

Neymar considers PSG escape routes

Neymar is considering leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer, sources told ESPN after revealing the club were delighted with his departure.

Contacts have been made with Chelsea, one of the few clubs able to recruit Neymar as new owner Todd Boehly aims to make a big mark on the transfer market this summer.

Meanwhile, Brazil team-mate and close friend Thiago Silva has spoken out in favor of Neymar joining him at Stamford Bridge. However, it remains to be seen whether Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel want to sign the 30-year-old.

Neymar’s agent Pini Zahavi is working to identify other potential suitors but he is aware only two or three teams would be able to match the money Neymar is making at PSG.

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Neymar signed a new deal with PSG 12 months ago with a gross annual salary of €43m excluding bonuses and now has five years left on that contract after a clause to extend it until 2027 was reportedly triggered.

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

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in August 2017 for a world record fee of €222m and his five years in France have been mixed. Despite having won Ligue 1 four times, PSG failed to win the Champions League, with the 2020 final defeat by Bayern Munich coming the closest. – Julien Laurens

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The ESPN FC crew discuss Manchester United’s desire to make a fresh start and Erik ten Hag’s reluctance to work with Ralf Rangnick in his proposed advisor role.

Ten Hag warned of leaks at Man United

Erik ten Hag has made setting up a dressing room at Manchester United one of his top goals this summer after being told about a series of leaks within the squad last season, sources told ESPN.

Ten Hag, who took over his first day of training at Carrington on Monday, was briefed on a spate of player unrest stories that circulated during a disastrous season that saw United finish sixth in the Premier League.

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

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Sources added that the club believe distrust among players – particularly in the second half of the season under interim manager Ralf Rangnick – contributed to a poor ending to a season in which United have won three of their last 14 games. United are hoping the pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, which will begin on July 8 and last two and a half weeks, will help the squad bond more closely ahead of the new season.

Sources say the players returning to Carrington this week were impressed by Ten Hag in his early days as manager. He was keen to chair meetings rather than leave coaching to his assistants like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick did.

Ten Hag has also already set the law after bringing the first wave of players back to Carrington a week early. The squad were initially told pre-season training would begin on July 4, until Ten Hag brought the date forward by a week. – Rob Dawson

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Shaka Hislop explains why he’s fully on board with Messi returning to Barcelona after his PSG contract expires.

Barcelona’s transfer troubles frustrate Xavi

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

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

Before leaving for vacation, the Barca boss told several players that they are no longer part of his plans. So far, however, only B-team striker Ferran Jutgla has left the club, with sources admitting to ESPN that there are concerns over the lack of movement from the Camp Nou.

Xavi, who accepts that the financial situation is making things difficult, has also made a list of transfer targets the club need to work on including Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde, but earnings are heavily dependent on expenses and commercial deals.

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

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

Chelsea feared a Lukaku problem

Chelsea’s willingness to inflict significant financial damage on Romelu Lukaku was born in part out of fears that history would repeat itself, sources told ESPN.

When the idea of ​​a loan back to Inter Milan was first considered, the Blues made it clear they were aiming for a fee of at least €20m – a hefty sum but one that should offset a player’s 12-month write-off at the club only paid 115 million euros last summer.

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

Manchester United struggled with Lukaku’s behavior in 2019 before joining Inter, handing him a two-week fine for training outside the first-team squad without a permit when he pleaded for a transfer.

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

Given there was only one likely target, Chelsea decided to cut their losses and allow for a quick exit, with chairman and interim sporting director Todd Boehly keen to draw a line on Lukaku’s troubles at the club rather than risk more problems.

Sources have stated that Inter have agreed to pay €8m up front with a further €5m in surcharges, covering Lukaku’s £300,000 a week. — James Olley

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Lucy Bronze talks free transfer to Barcelona after leaving Man City

Barcelona rocked by Elvis tweets

Elvis didn’t even make it into the Barcelona building. The club withdrew from appointing Elvis Coca as scout this week after old tweets praising Real Madrid and criticizing the Catalan side emerged.

Coca, who works in a similar capacity at second division club CD Mirandes, had already reached an agreement with Barca when the social media posts surfaced. In the now-deleted tweets, Coca celebrated Real Madrid victories and complained that Barca were getting help from 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 Barca have reversed a deal over historic social media posts. They pulled out of signing striker Sergi Guardiola in 2015 over a series of anti-Catalan tweets.

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

Tottenham like standard guru

Tottenham are in talks to add set-piece specialist Gianni Vio to their back room, sources 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 newcomers to north London, but head coach Antonio Conte is also hoping for a key addition to his backroom staff.

Vio, 69, previously worked for AC Milan, Leeds United, Brentford and Fiorentina before joining Roberto Mancini’s staff when Italy won Euro 2020 last summer. Rumor has it that Vio created 4,830 standard exercises.

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

https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/4692841/chelsea-on-neymar-alert-as-psg-look-to-axe-222m-brazil-star Chelsea on Neymar alert as PSG look to axe €222m Brazil star

Emma Bowman

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