Neymar drops Manchester City transfer hint as Premier League rivals tremble at thought of Paris Saint-Germain star playing under Pep Guardiola

The dust has barely settled on the record-breaking 100-point, double-winning season at the Etihad.

Yet already they have one of the biggest superstars of the world game fluttering his eyelashes at them.

Brazil hero Neymar is looking for a way out of Paris Saint-Germain — just a year after his jaw-dropping £198million move to the French capital.

He said he “really wants to work with Pep Guardiola”, having just missed out on the chance when he initially joined Barcelona.

Guardiola has committed his next three years to finishing the job he has started so impressively at City.

So this is as close to a “come and get me” plea as you can get from the 26-year-old.

And that shows how City have established themselves as a superpower of world football over their decade of Abu Dhabi ownership.


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The chances of the World Cup star being paraded around the Etihad in a sky blue shirt any time soon remains slim.

That is not to say there will not be people at the club who have their heads turned by Neymar’s revelation though.

The former Barcelona man is a marketing man’s dream and would grow the profile of any club he plays for enormously.

For a club with such sky-high ambitions as City that must appeal.

And, of course, everyone knows this is an exceptional talent — any team would be lucky to have him.

The colony of Brazilian players already at the Etihad — Fernandinho, Danilo, Ederson and Gabriel Jesus — would be the first to tell  you that.

Yet Guardiola’s priorities lie elsewhere this summer.

He said recently they will only sign “one, maybe two” new players between now and mid-August.

They are focusing their efforts on a defensive midfielder and a wide player and have already identified their top targets.

Napoli’s £50m ace Jorginho is one, while Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez is again firmly in his sights.

Guardiola is safe in the knowledge he has Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus to find the net for the next couple of seasons.

Despite missing large chunks of the season with injury, the deadly duo got 47 goals between them. Aguero has committed himself to City until 2020. And aged just 21, Jesus surely represents the long-term future for the club.

No doubt the young star would relish the chance to have his friend for company in the North West of England.

But the reality is City do not really need a new centre-forward at this stage.

There are those at the Etihad who believe they could be tempted to change their plans for a marquee signing.

After all, they had a long look at Neymar’s team-mate Kylian Mbappe last summer before he eventually opted for PSG.

Yet this is one deal that would blow the budget right out of the water.

And having spent more than £440m in two years at the Etihad, Guardiola may want to rein things in a bit.

He will be spending again, of course. In fact, it is unlikely he could get Jorginho and Mahrez for less than £100m.

But Neymar alone would probably cost double that — and that is before his £32m-a-year wages are factored in.

City owner Sheikh Mansour has seriously deep pockets.

But the days when money was frittered away are long gone. Their record signing was a relatively low profile one, with Aymeric Laporte joining for £57m from Athletic Bilbao in January.

Before that, the most they had paid was the £54m shelled out on Kevin de Bruyne in summer 2015.

Part of the reason they have fostered such an incredible atmosphere in the dressing room is because there are no “big-time Charlies”.

At City they are proud of the fact their name does not feature in the top ten biggest transfer deals of all-time.

In fact, you have to go much further down to 15th before you see the new English champs mentioned.

That could change this summer if they land Mahrez, with talk of the Foxes looking for a £75m deal.

But do not forget they walked away in January when the Algerian’s price went up to more than £90m.

Similarly, they felt the money being asked for by Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal was way too hot for them.

The sums involved for Neymar would be even more eye-watering, so the thinking is likely to be the same.

City’s planning for the transfer market is meticulous. At Christmas they already knew what they wanted for the next 18 months.

Things are going too well to rip up those carefully laid plans — even for Neymar.

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