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AMIENS, FRANCE - JANUARY 10: Neymar Jr of PSG during the French League Cup (Coupe de la Ligue) match between Amiens SC and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at Stade de la Licorne on January 10, 2018 in Amiens, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Real Madrid are reportedly hopeful of clinching a deal to sign longtime target Neymar, who is said to have sent “encouraging messages” to Los Merengues, though a potential deal could cost as much as €400 million (£357 million).

Jose Felix Diaz of Madrid-based newspaper Marca reported Real are focused on recruiting a new Galactico, and despite more than doubling the world transfer record with last summer’s £200 million move to Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar is their primary target.

And it’s believed Neymar is keen to complete a move to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, too. Diaz noted Neymar sat near a Real Madrid contingent at The Best FIFA Football Awards, which is when he first began sending “encouraging messages.”

The former Barcelona talisman is currently excelling at PSG but isn’t likely to have the same silverware prospects he might have with Real, a club he could have once joined for a pittance, per football writer Mohamed Moallim:

Diaz also mentioned that Neymar was spotted on holiday next to a Real Madrid ambassador, inevitably stoking the fire of speculation that he could be headed to join Barca’s fiercest rivals.

They won’t be the only club interested in the Brazil international in the event a departure from PSG becomes possible, however. Sport Witness depicted a front cover from French daily Le10 Sport showing Manchester United‘s intrigue:

PSG look set to march their way to this season’s Ligue 1 title with Neymar storming his way through France’s top flight, but the Parisian powerhouse isn’t so assured of dominating the same way in the UEFA Champions League.

Ex-Real and Barcelona striker Ronaldo told compatriot and fellow Selecao legend Zico that Neymar took a step down by moving to the French capital, per Spanish newspaper AS: “Sportingly, the decision is a step back. But there are challenges that everyone seeks. I played in Barcelona at the time and went to Inter when the Italian championship was much more competitive.”

Neymar was a force to be reckoned with in La Liga and didn’t take long to acclimate in Spain following his 2013 switch from Santos, but he’s become an even more dominant force as PSG’s prime piece, via Goal:

A move would be incredibly difficult to envision just one year after Neymar’s eye-watering move to PSG, however, particularly given the Qatari-funded club wouldn’t be in desperate need of the funds.

By that understanding, it would presumably need to be Neymar’s own drive to engineer the move and push it forward.

Real are said to have €200 million (£178 million) in the bank ready to spend on the right player, and although Neymar is sure to meet their criteria, that figure is still half the expected sum it would cost to sign him.

Summer 2019 is touted as a more probable date for the transfer to materialise, and Real’s own desire to land a blow on rival Barcelona would serve as just another reason to take the hit and shoulder the expense.  

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