regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Luis Enrique wants Paris Saint-Germain to sort out Kylian Mbappe mess

Club says Neymar trains alone indoors away from his teammates because of a viral infection

AP/PTI Paris Published 12.08.23, 08:24 AM
PSG coach Luis Enrique.

PSG coach Luis Enrique. File photo

Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique still hopes Kylian Mbappé will stay at the club despite an ongoing transfer standoff, but wouldn’t comment on Neymar’s future as the Brazil forward moves closer to a possible departure.

Neither Mbappé nor Neymar took part in PSG’s training session on Friday, parts of which were open to the media. The club said Neymar trained alone indoors away from his teammates because of a viral infection.


Mbappé has trained apart from PSG’s first-team regulars all week after making it clear he wants to play out the final season of his contract and leave as a free agent next year. PSG said it wants to sell him now if he will not extend his contract.

Enrique was to name his squad for Saturday’s home game against Lorient, with PSG expected to begin their title defence without Mbappé.

This is not the first time PSG and Mbappe have been involved in a contract standoff. The France forward has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, who twice failed with bids to sign him before, but Enrique hopes a solution can be found again.

“This situation has existed before, a positive solution was found with the club. I hope an agreement is reached, which is something I would like,” Enrique said at a news conference, through a translator. “But the club is above everything, the coach, the players.”

Enrique would not answer a follow-up question on Mbappé’s future. “I am not going to say anything else, the first answer expressed my opinion clearly,” he said.

Neymar outbound

But Neymar is headed for an exit from PSG.

A person familiar with the situation revealed that talks are moving toward Neymar leaving the club this month.

The 31-year-old Brazil international was widely repor­ted to have told PSG this week he wants to leave. He has been linked with a return to Barcelona, which sold him to PSG for a world-record fee of 222 million euros ($244 million) in 2017. Enrique said he has spoken with both Neymar and midfielder Marco Verratti, who has been linked with a move to the lucrative Saudi Arabian league.

“Regarding Marco and Neymar, I’m used to keeping conversations private. I will not talk about what I said to them and what they said to me,” Enrique said. “(But) I ask you to pay attention to my actions. My decisions will clearly express my views.”

PSG unveiled a new sponsor on Friday, but Mbappé, Neymar and Verratti were not among the five featured players promoting it online.

With PSG having already lost Lionel Messi to Inter Miami and facing the possibility of playing without any of their three superstars from last season, the club may need to recruit quickly.

“We’re open to anything that will improve the squad,” Enrique said. “We’re paying attention to what’s happening in every position. The transfer market is difficult for everyone, not just PSG.”

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