Paris Saint-Germain have been forced to issue a strongly-worded statement denying ‘with the utmost firmness’ reports that they are planning to sell either Neymar or Kylian Mbappé next year.
The French giants are currently being investigated by UEFA’s Financial Fair Play committee, and L’Equipe reported that, should they be found to have breached regulations, contingency plans are in place to offset the damage by cashing in on one of their biggest stars.
But the current Ligue 1 leaders have rubbished the story, calling it 'erroneous, ridiculous', and escalated a war of words with L’Equipe, questioning the paper’s 'intellectual honesty and ulterior motives'.
Questions have long swirled over PSG’s financial dealings. Pressure from some of Europe’s biggest clubs convinced UEFA to open an investigation in September 2017, after PSG broke the world-record spending £200m to sign Neymar from Barcelona.
That same summer also saw the Qatari-owned club secure a loan deal with Monaco for Mbappé, which included a £166m obligation to buy when Les Parisians avoided relegation.
After clearing the club of foul play last June, UEFA subsequently reviewed the case, and in September reopened its investigation. Since then, German publication Der Spiegel reported on information from 'Football Leaks' that suggested the Qatari-owned club had flouted FFP regulations for years. PSG vehemently denied the claims.
According to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, clubs cannot spend more than they earn in any given season, and mustn’t accumulate more than €30m debt over three seasons. If PSG are found to have broken the rules, they could face being excluded from European competition.
With their Champions League hopes in the balance as they prepare for next week’s crucial match against Red Star Belgrade, the club urged their fans to ignore the rumours and focus on supporting the team.
"With four days to go until the match in Belgrade in the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain invites its community - supporters, partners, former players - to gather more than ever around the red and blue jersey, its players and values and ambitions, that the club will always carry with pride," they said.