Neymar remains front and center as the summer transfer season rolls on, but there are difficulties on a number of levels when it comes to actually completing a transfer for the Brazilian superstar.
The new Bundesliga and La Liga seasons kick off on Friday, and Serie A's curtain raiser is still a week away, but their transfer windows remain open for business. The Bundesliga and La Liga go all the way to Sept. 2, while Serie A's while shut on the eve of the new season on Aug. 23, meaning plenty of big names can still change home addresses despite it being so late in the summer and as preparations for the campaigns ahead hit the final stretch.
All eyes remain on PSG and what it will do with Neymar, which is a good place to start a look at the latest involving the biggest names that remain locked in the rumor mill:
The many difficulties in completing a Neymar transfer
PSG continues to look to move Neymar, with a return to Spain looking like the only option for the wantaway Brazilian star. It's long been reported that Barcelona and Real Madrid are both vying for his services, regardless of whether either side truly needs another expensive and egomaniacal attacking option given what is already at their disposal.
The difficulties that come with completing a Neymar transfer are plentiful. Between the exorbitant return PSG will want and the layers Barcelona or Real Madrid would need to sift through, it has to make both sides wonder whether it's really worth the effort. His talent is undeniable, but it's not as simple as just plugging and playing.
According to the most recent reports, PSG wants Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo and money from Barcelona. Dembele reportedly does not want to go to Paris, while Barcelona reportedly preferred to part ways with Philippe Coutinho as part of the move and not lose Dembele and Semedo. That was something that PSG did not appear to want and is not even a possibility anymore with Coutinho heading on loan to Bayern Munich. So desperate is Neymar to return to Barcelona, though, that he's reportedly willing to accept a significant pay cut, something that would perhaps entice Barcelona to give up an asset it otherwise wants to keep.
On top of all of that, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale appear to be staying put at Real Madrid after weeks of speculation that they'd surely be moved on, and their wage demands put constraints on what Real Madrid is able to do after already spending so much this summer. Absent offloading the Colombian playmaker and Welsh winger, it's hard to envision a scenario in which Real Madrid carves a pathway to a transfer.
Zinedine Zidane has appeared to pull a complete 180 on both players–and especially Bale, about whom he quite openly expressed hope a move away would be completed just a few weeks ago.
“It seemed that he was going to leave, and he is here with us now," Zidane said ahead of the start to Real Madrid's league campaign. "Things can change, and now I will count on him, like the others. He has a contract, is an important player and I hope that all the players want to make things difficult for me to pick the team.”
If there's no middle ground to find–and there's still plenty of time for that to transpire–then it simply won't be possible for Neymar to move. There aren't any other realistic landing spots, especially with the Premier League's transfer window closed. Any purchasing team also is well aware that Neymar is suspended for three Champions League matches following his referee tirade after PSG's elimination at the hands of Man United.
PSG is already planting the seeds to pivot and keep Neymar, who drew the ire of the club's fans at its season-opening match, for at least another half of a season.
"It's known that there are negotiations about his future but at the moment none of them is at an advanced stage," PSG sporting director Leonardo, who has been rather blunt all along, recently said. "Neymar is still a PSG player and we shouldn't forget he still has three seasons left on his contract. We need to analyze and resolve all the issues before he can play again. ... Neymar has made mistakes. The days I'm getting to know him, I know he's a good guy. Besides, he's an incredible player."
Between satisfying PSG's needs, the player's needs and acquiring all of the baggage that comes along with a potential transfer, there's nothing straightforward about landing this big fish in the transfer market.
For all of the fuss over Neymar, he has been included in Brazil's squad for September friendlies against Colombia and Peru, marking his return to the national side after missing its Copa America triumph on home soil with an injury suffered before the competition.
Chucky to Napoli inches along
Mexican star Hirving Lozano has proven his quality at PSV in the Eredivisie and has long been poised for a move to Napoli, something that appears to be nearing completion. If reports from Italy and the Netherlands are accurate, he'll set both the outgoing transfer record for PSV and incoming transfer record for Napoli with a €42 million move once his physical is completed and the agreement becomes official.
In his two seasons at PSV after leaving Pachua in Liga MX, Lozano has scored 40 goals in all competitions, including 17 in each Eredivisie campaign. He's long proven himself for a leap, and it appears it's about to come to fruition.
Alexis Sanchez reportedly turns down Roma
Manchester United has an albatross on its wage bill in the form of Alexis Sanchez, who has woefully underperformed since his arrival from Arsenal, and it reportedly came close to offloading him to Italy.
Alexis reportedly turned down a loan to Roma that would have included the Serie A side paying half of his salary and taking the burden off Man United. As it stands, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is saying the right things and even holds out hope to extract some production from the Chilean.
“Alexis is such a professional and he comes in working every single day really hard and he wants to be a part of this,” Solskjaer said. “There are these stories he’s been put in the reserves–of course he hasn’t, he’s part of our squad and he is a really good player. He has had three weeks now, so he’s a few weeks behind the rest but close to being part of it. We don’t have the biggest forward line in numbers so Alexis might end up playing a lot more games than you expect and we expect him to come good at this club, he’s quality.”
No movement on the Dybala front
Paulo Dybala remains with Juventus despite a couple of reported close calls to Premier League moves prior to the England top flight's deadline. He's been another name mentioned in the same breath as PSG, but that's all contingent on the club selling Neymar to make way for another high-priced, high-profile attacking piece.
"The market is open and there is interest, but there are no names closer to a sale," Juventus director Fabio Paratici said. "[Dybala] is a Juve player-indeed, he is a great Juve player. As I said, during the transfer market, there are discussions and negotiations."
So far, they haven't led to anything.