Paris (AFP) – Neymar’s decision to post a photo of himself in thoughtful contemplation sparked a fresh wave of speculation that he is on the verge of sealing a world record 222-million-euro ($256.8 million) move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Instagram picture, even accompanied by a matching emoji, shows the 25-year-old Brazilian superstar stretched out on the pitch with his chin resting on his left hand.
It garnered more than a million and a half ‘likes’ within 12 hours of it being posted in the United States where Barcelona are on a pre-season tour.
Three of the ‘likes’ came from PSG players — winger Angel Di Maria, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and midfielder Marco Verratti.
On Tuesday, PSG skipper — and fellow Brazilian — Thiago Silva gave a digital thumbs up to a mocked-up photo montage published by media company Esporte Interativo showing Neymar in a PSG shirt along with compatriots and prospective teammates in France.
Esporte Interativo used the montage to illustrate what they insist is an agreement reached for Neymar to move to the French capital from Barcelona where he has played since 2013.
Like Barcelona, PSG are also touring the United States where Neymar’s future has dominated conversation.
“I don’t know,” Thiago Silva told Le Parisien newspaper when asked if he knew whether the Brazilian star was about to come a PSG player.
“I hear a lot from journalists and a player like Neymar would be an interesting addition to the PSG project.
“But, for the moment, it is especially important to prepare for the new season. After and if Neymar arrives it would be a good thing for the squad.”
Is Neymar going to sign?
“Not yet,” smiled the captain.
– Deal ’95 percent complete’ –
In Spain, it was reported by Catalan media group RAC 1 that “certain players” at Barcelona have already tried to convince Neymar not to accept the PSG offer which would dwarf the 105 million euros Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba.
However, it’s believed the Brazilian is being seduced by the immense wealth on offer to him from the Qatari owners of PSG and by the opportunity to have a team built around him.
The daily Sport newspaper also claimed that Luis Suarez has also attempted to persuade Neymar not to split up the MSN frontline at Barcelona made up of Lionel Messi, Suarez and the Brazilian star.