PSG GETS FIRMER GRIP ON NEYMAR, BARCELONA RETURN NOW UNLIKELY

Paris Saint-Germain’will offer Neymar a new contract worth a staggering £33million a year’ to persuade him to snub a Barcelona return.

The Brazilian star has been regularly linked with a move back to the Nou Camp, where he played for Barcelona between 2013 and 2017 before a world-record £198m move to Paris.

But, according to Spanish newspaper Diario Sport, PSG sporting director Leonardo will make an effort to tie him to the club until 2025 with a deal worth £640,000 a week.

The new deal would bring Neymar’s salary closer to those of the only two footballers in the world who earn more than him – Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus.

Neymar had scored 18 goals and contributed 10 assists in all competitions for PSG this season prior to the Covid-19 shutdown.

His existing deal, worth around £600,000 a week, expires in 2022 and the 28-year-old agreeing to a new contract would finally scotch rumours he wants to return to Barcelona.

Neymar is already the highest earner at the Parc des Princes by some distance, with his 21-year-old team-mate Kylian Mbappe the next on £375,000 a week, according to L’Equipe.

Reports in Spain in recent months suggested that Barcelona could move for both Neymar and the Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez this summer.

But the coronavirus pandemic has hit the Catalans hard financially, with players taking a 70 per cent wage cut during the crisis so non-playing staff can get paid.

PSG held a 12-point lead over Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 as they aim to defend their French title when the season was suspended.

They had also defeated Borussia Dortmund to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League prior to the shutdown.