Football

PSG need a Neymar, says coach

Paris Saint-Germain need to sign a player of the calibre of Neymar or Kylian Mbappe in their quest to win the Champions League, according to their coach Unai Emery.

In an interview published in French sports daily L'Equipe yesterday, Emery named Neymar as one of the five best players in the world, and said he was the kind of talent PSG needed to become a top European power.

He was speaking amid reports in Brazil and Spain that PSG were on the way to clinching a sensational deal to prise Neymar away from Barcelona.

"If we want to rival Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid and win the Champions League, we need to buy one of the top five players in the world today," Emery said, after watching his side edge out Roma on penalties in a friendly in the United States.

"Neymar has advanced his game massively and today he is one of the best five (players) in the world," he said of the 25-year-old Brazilian, who has a buy-out clause at Barcelona of over 200 million euros (S$315.4 million).

"Our president is working hard to attract top players and our fans would be content to count on a new top player to go along with the talent we already have," said the Spaniard.

Earlier this week, Neymar attempted to quell the rising speculation about his future by telling goal.com that he was happy at Barcelona and was looking forward to a new season.

MAYBE MBAPPE

But PSG's quest for top players goes beyond the Brazilian striker and includes the likes of Monaco teenager Mbappe and Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

"Sanchez and Mbappe are huge players, and what's more Mbappe is French - I want Frenchmen at this French club," he said.

The Parisian club are keen to strengthen their squad after failing to live up to expectations last season. In the Champions League Round of 16, they suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat at Barcelona, blowing a 4-0 first-leg advantage.

They also surrendered the French league title to rivals Monaco, forcing the club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to sack sports director Patrick Kluivert and bring in Antero Henrique.

The new director produced an early coup by signing Brazilian defender Dani Alves, who had been tipped to join Manchester City on a free transfer. - AFP

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